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.
The 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.