Monday, November 28, 2011

Embracing the Non-Traditional

For the first time in my life, this year I celebrated Thanksgiving away from my family and without a home-cooked turkey. I probably would have been worried about this if I'd spent any serious time in the past few weeks thinking about the holidays. As it happened, the end of November sort of snuck up on me, and I found myself sitting around the day before Thanksgiving thinking that maybe I ought to do some shopping and menu planning. But I didn't.

A friend of mine came to visit from far-away Texas, someone I haven't seen in a couple of years. It was just the two of us spending the holiday together, a first for both of us, and initially we weren't sure what we were going to do, or if it would even feel like Thanksgiving if we didn't do up the whole day the way we were used to. But neither of us felt like putting in a lot of effort cooking, and we somewhat awkwardly negotiated a two-part plan for ourselves for the day: hang out at home, then eat dinner in a restaurant. We agreed not to stress about creating a meaningful holiday celebration.

What was amazing was, the big day still felt like a holiday. Special, because I spent time with a friend who I don't usually see. Lazy, because we cooked pie and watched movies all day. Delicious and food-filled, because we went out and enjoyed a turkey dinner that we hadn't spent all day slaving over. Entertaining, because we ended the day at a jazz club listening to live music.

I can imagine that it would be difficult for me to spend a holiday like Thanksgiving truly alone, or without any festivities, but that's not what happened. Changing my T-Day routine made me realize that the things that matter most about the holidays are not related to perfect, repeated rituals. Change can be good, and surprisingly, this very different Thanksgiving turned out to be one of my most delightful!

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