The American national day of gluttony is approaching and, because my mission is stress reduction, I feel compelled every year to talk about this “avoidable” pressure. I do love turkey stuffing and pumpkin pie, and love being with my family and their family, but the pressure to be together no matter what on this one particular day sometimes seems absurd. The airline industry alone expects something like 25 million passengers over this 4-day holiday. People are breaking their necks, and their bank accounts, to be together at all costs. We’re used to it. We do it automatically.
The rules: you must have turkey (or Tofurkey!), you must not eat alone, you must try your darnedest to be with family. Congratulations if you’re lucky enough to have a group to gather with, but what if you don’t have family? Or friends? With cultural focus on THE dinner, it’s hard not to feel lonely when none of that applies to you.
I once attempted, naively, to stop at the grocery store on the Wed. before. Oh, the enormity of it all. Cars were stacked up in the aisles, fighting for parking spaces. And inside, the food frenzy rendered me speechless. Since then, I’ve been mulling over this “much ado” and decided to dub it our collective “stupid anxiety”. The kind of stress we create all by ourselves, with the biggest one of all coming up in Dec. Lots of women dread this time of year because of the pressure to cook up a feast for a table full. And sometimes clean up afterwards while football fans retreat to the couch. The pressure to conform is huge, but you have a choice… to do what’s practical and enjoyable instead of what’s expected.
My daughter will be coming this year because it means four days off of work for her. I can’t wait, but we probably won’t have the full-tilt Thanksgiving spread. It was her that broke my own cycle years ago by showing me the joy of Turkey TV dinners. Ha. I am out of kitchen practice and don’t have a clue how to cook a decent bird anymore, but pumpkin pie will be a must.
Do you have an alternative Thanksgiving tradition you can share?