The end-of-year holidays that start around November are my favorite time of year. Yet, this time of year is also very stressful. In my life before kids, I absorbed the expected requirements of traveling to see family, cooking, cleaning and then jumping back on the road to deal with hectic end-of-year work activities. While I wasn’t always a fan of doing this, most years, I did little to rock the boat since I didn’t have a husband or kids to consider. Since having my duo, I’ve realized that this is a time of year to slow down. This slowdown starts with Thanksgiving. This year, I’m fully embracing the mood of the anti-Thanksgiving.
What I’m calling the anti-Thanksgiving will be time for my husband and I to take off our capes of saving the day for our kids and others. This year, there won’t be any whipping, mixing, fluffing, or chopping. We won’t be waiting for the turkey to get done. There won’t be a homemade cake, pie, or cranberry sauce. Instead, we’re ordering in all the foods and just enough to get through the holiday week and weekend. We’re not bringing out anything fancy to eat off of either. Min-i-mal clean-up will be the goal this year. Paper plates and bowls where appropriate and throw away containers from that the food we’re ordering. Family is encouraged to come and visit. However, the focus won’t be on the presentation of food. We’ll be focusing on the presence of our family. We’re watching football games and holiday movies. We’re sleeping on the couch from the food coma. We’re playing board games and card games. Since we won’t be cooking and cleaning, we’ll have energy to put up the new tree. Most importantly, we will enjoy our time together. I’ll take in my morning walks and our kids will play outside. I expect that I will return to work on Monday relaxed and more focused from a stress-free holiday with memories of time spent with my family instead of all the food and cleaning.
While this anti-Thanksgiving plan may seem a bit like heresy, it sounds like nirvana to me. It sounds like a decision I should have made years ago. I should have gotten off the hamster wheel, raised my red flag, and announced that enough was enough. I’m tired and worn out. All I want to do for Thanksgiving week is sleep. I’ll have no meetings or projects to prepare for, so sleep sounds like a sound option for several hours in the middle of the day. I want to show my thanks and appreciation this week by not being stressed, enjoying the moments in front of me, and creating memories of a mom and wife who laughed in the moment because I was looking and paying attention.
While my plans don’t exactly jive with the tradition that’s been created in movies and greeting cards, it’s a necessary switch of plans. The reality is that holiday cards and movies don’t accurately show the woman who’s exhausted from creating those picture-perfect scenes. We don’t see how exhausted she is going into the holiday, more exhausted during the holiday, and completely worn out after the holiday. I’m opting to have gas in my tank heading into the last 35 days of the year. I want to enter the end of the year with a spirit of light and joy and am ready to extend that to my family, friends, and co-workers.
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