Thanksgiving Week

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Free of gifts, religious strife, or guilt, it is a holiday to give thanks and share meals. Oh, wait, that was 20 years ago. We have now managed to crank up even this holiday with angst, fear, and stress.

thanksgiving-turkey-prozacThe whole Black Friday thing? I avoid it entirely. I don’t shop at any mall on weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Reduces stress. When I do go (during the week), I am determinately cheerful, greet strangers, and help people carry packages. The look on their faces are worth the effort. Sometimes I need a nap when I get home.

I refuse to pick fights. I let people cut in front of me in line, take that parking spot I had in mind, and refuse to engage in any hate speech. Which means when I say “Happy Holidays,” and someone snaps at me, “It’s ‘Merry Christmas’ and NOT Happy Holidays,” I tell myself that this is their problem and not mine. I’ve told myself that three times already and it’s not even Thanksgiving.

What stuns me is how much people complain about Thanksgiving and Christmas. How much they claim to hate it, while decorating up a storm and baking themselves into a frenzy.

The food we eat, the diet we follow is both personal and public. I struggle between being an advocate for a healthy diabetic diet and not making anyone change their way of eating for my sake. Which means I bring my own food if I am invited to dinner. I love eating and I don’t want to offend a hostess–and who doesn’t have at least one delicious carb-fest dish on a Thanksgiving table?

A former acquaintance used to “prove” how silly people’s diets were by putting sugar in dishes for diabetics and serving pork to religious Jews and Muslims and insisting it was veal. I no longer visit her. In fact, I don’t speak to her anymore.

This is the week that we choose how much stress we want to handle. You don’t have to be a hero; you can be quiet, change the subject, laugh along, stand up for yourself, set boundaries, don’t take crap from anyone, or go on the attack. It’s all up to you. Just remember what the holiday is for and keep an eye on that.

—Quinn McDonald is looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner and the amazing sandwiches afterwards. Without the bread.


19 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Week

  1. Quinn – love the way you write and the things you say. Your patience and demeanor in the face of stress is an inspiration.

    We Canadians sensibly have our Thanksgiving celebration in October – long before the “seasonal orgy of consumer worship” begins. It also gives us time to get over one lovely turkey dinner before having to face preparing and consuming another. It also allow us to breathe a bit before facing early November Christmas decorations and music! 🙂

  2. I’m counting blessings here. Blessed with friends and family who enjoy good food as opposed to food laced with sugar and preservatives and things that have polysyllabic names and numbers, blessed because they’re trying to step lightly in the Earth. And like you I try to avoid the rush, the crush and remember who has the problem and not make it mine . . . I love Traci’s “Their circus, their monkeys.”

    As a kid, did you ever try to step on the dry crusty sand and try not to break it? Of course I never could, still can’t, but it doesn’t stop me from trying.

  3. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why people would be untruthful about the foods they are serving. My daughter has a severe peanut allergy and we have had relatives lie about cookies and desserts made with peanuts. We no longer share holidays with those relatives. Much easier than a trip to the hospital.

  4. Over the river and through the woods to my brother’s house for our Thanksgiving. I love that he hosts all of us (as many as thirty every year). He makes the best, moist bird and we bring the trimmings. It’s a day full of love and laughter, friends and family, and of course…plenty of food. It’s always a good day of memories. A few years ago we decided we had been missing the opportunity to take a yearly photo of the group so we started a new tradition. I’d forgotten about it until today when I was reading your post. I meant to get together some of those photos and bring them along so we could share the changes and past memories. hmmmm….wonder if I have time to get that done? Maybe one less pie?

  5. I really dislike all the frenzy that surrounds holidays. I don’t understand why people want to stress themselves out so much. I stopped the Christmas shopping many years ago and decided just to spend time with the ones I love. The whole Thanksgiving food orgy really pushes my buttons but I have finally decided to take control of my own situation and make a couple special dishes and leave the rest for the person who insists on the yearly food orgy. Like Janice said, “Their circus, their monkeys.”

    Unfortunately, I feel like Thanksgiving and Christmas have lost their true meaning. To get through it, I’m going to remember that I can be quiet and/or change the subject. Thanks!

  6. Glad you dumped that former friend. Anyone who screws with a diabetic’s dietary requirements gets their own circle in hell: my late step-mom used to ply my diabetic father with a glass of wine when she was late finishing the dinner she was cooking! (Oh, I guess that’s when she decided she hated me: I accused her of trying to kill him!) Ditto for ignoring religious dietary restrictions. As for the grumps who jump down your throat when you’re trying to be nice at the holidays? I always just say, “Oh I’m sorry; just trying to be nice,” and walk away. Their circus, their monkeys.
    I’m having TWO Thanksgivings this year: one I’m hosting on Tues for my husband and my neighbors; one I’m attending at the same neighbors on Thursday because my husband has to work that day. I’m thankful for all of the opportunity to eat dinner twice with people I love.

    • I’m all for making the holidays easy. Big families can cause stress, but so can small gatherings. I love the idea of having two celebrations. And of celebrating in easy ways. Yeah, that person who screwed with her invited guests just baffles me. What was THAT about? Anger? Control? Once she told me she did that, and laughed, I never ate at her house again.

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