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Bending Tradition – Thanksgiving On The Floor

November 30, 2013

Tradition is extremely important to me. It is important to the extent that even though I’m living in a country that doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, I still make a massive effort every year to make it happen.

For nearly a decade, far away from the people who share my traditions (and with the support of my husband) I have had guests, and turkey and all the trimmings. It wasn’t until this year though, when I took a nontraditional approach to the holiday, that I have been able to successfully recreate the feeling of Thanksgiving for myself. 

This year I decided to try something different and give myself a break. No guests, no big spending, no crazy stressful preparation. I just wanted to celebrate with my husband and my daughter, the two people in my life who mean the  most to me. I figured that since we were a 3 person gathering we might as well have it on the floor where our daughter could be a full participant, sampling her first Thanksgiving feast with both hands as the center of attention.

So that was my big plan, a very small scale floor picnic Thanksgiving. 

It’s not that I don’t like having people over for dinner, I really do. The trouble is that whenever I have people over, the topic of conversation always manages to turn to my family because I guess that it seems like the polite and considerate thing to discuss from their perspective. I understand that they’re well meaning, however it’s the worst possible topic for me, particularly during a holiday when I would give anything to just be with them.

Having to talk about my family when I’m already so homesick and fighting to put a smile on my face at the same time so that I don’t look completely rude and unstable when presented with the question is the worst part of every single holiday since I moved away. As silly as it might sound, that inevitable conversation is an enormous source of dread for me.

This year, that conversation couldn’t happen, and by not having anyone over  I also cut out all the insane house cleaning that I put myself through which was truly fantastic since having a toddler doesn’t leave much room for even moderate house cleaning.

Even though I’d successfully managed to remove just about every single source of holiday stress for myself I still reached my typical homesick depressive low Wednesday evening. By Thursday morning, in all honesty I didn’t want to get out of bed, but I did because Thanksgiving had to happen. I couldn’t allow it to pass by without making an effort, so I pushed myself to get the turkey made and all of the side dishes organized but my heart wasn’t at all in it.

Finally it was time to eat and I set up our picnic spread on the floor, then called my husband and daughter through. As we all sat down together and our little one was falling in love with her very first popover (dipping it in cranberry sauce) my eyes welled up and I realized that it was the first time in 8 years that I wasn’t crying during a holiday because I missed my family. I was crying because she is the most beautiful and precious thing I’ve ever seen, and because in that moment I knew we were making new traditions and memories together as a family and I finally felt at peace that everything was as it should be.

So in that little experiment of bending tradition I found what I had been looking for all these years, and as a result this Thanksgiving was the absolute best Thanksgiving I’ve ever had.


From → Ramblings

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