Heading into Holiday Season during the pandemic raises questions we’ve never faced before. Suddenly the thought of being with other humans outside of the those already part of our pod stirs feelings of discomfort and anxiety and even, on some level, feels dangerous.
At least that how it feels to me..
What’s a woman to do who values family, togetherness and giving thanks as 2020 draws to a close and the traditions which we’ve looked forward to for decades no longer feel safe?
The CDC advises us to stay home and plan small, intimate holiday celebrations with only those in our “bubble.”
And that’s just what I’m planning to do.
My simplified, easy Thanksgiving menu.
I’m thinking about which foods to feature and which to let go of this year. Vegetables will take a starring role. Lots of greens. Mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes. Rolls and butter? Not this year. Since alcohol is no longer a necessary part of our celebrations, that’s a non-issue.
Planning the meal for midday eliminates the need for special drinks, mocktails or appetizers.
An emphasis on color and texture and, of course, presentation to delight the eye is a given. Hello lots and lots of parsley and pretty serving platters!
The menu will be quite simple, but the flavors delicious: turkey (parts for ease of roasting) and gravy, homemade-in-advance stuffing loaded with veggies (diced carrots, onions, celery, cranberry raisins and sliced mushrooms), garlic mashed cauliflower, homemade-in-advance fresh cranberry sauce with whole cranberries, mandarin orange segments and walnuts, a green veggie, an arugula salad and pumpkin custard topped with whipped cream and a few pralines for desert. Dark chocolate, of course. Sparkling water with lemon/lime slices served in goblets.
Ambiance is key: fresh flowers, a fire blazing, our favorite 40’s era music, a few festive autumnal decorations and our best china and crystal.
Thanksgiving this year requires advance planning of mindset and alternative ways to connect.
The guest list: my husband, my 91 year old mother and me. Small, warm and loving. My children, my husband’s children and our extended families will be safe in their respective bubbles celebrating on a smaller scale than ever before.
There will be some Face Time or Zoom visits with our far away loved ones. Whether it’s on Thanksgiving day at some other time during the holiday weekend, we will gather together to express our appreciation and love.
My daughters in the Bay area and my mother here in Baltimore with me are having a Zoom tea-time on Wednesday evening. We’ve agreed to each share 3 things we are profoundly grateful for and a quote, a reading or a poem that holds special meaning for us in this season.
Feasting on gratitude for all that is still good in our lives is the most important feast of all.
No matter what the conditions may be in the world, gratitude and appreciation are feelings that are always readily available to us.
Despite all the other limitations we are experiencing in 2020, gratitude is the most delicious item I intend to feature on our menu this year.
There’s plenty of 21st century scientific research explaining the benefits of a gratitude practice.
So here’s a silver platter offering of gratitude quotations to inspire and guide you.
“Gratitude is an antidote to negative emotions, a neutralizer of envy, hostility, worry, and irritation. It is savoring; it is not taking things for granted; it is present-oriented.” – Sonja Lyubomirsky
“Being thankful is not always experienced as a natural state of existence, we must work at it, akin to a type of strength training for the heart.” – Larissa Gomez
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey
“Gratitude for the present moment and the fullness of life now is the true prosperity.” – Eckhart Tolle
“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” – Epictetus
“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.” – Buddha
Each day, set an intention that you will notice at least three things to express gratitude for. Say them out loud, write them down, share with a friend.
Find a gratitude accountability buddy/buddies. Pick a day of the week from now throughout 2021 to text each other at least one gratitude thought.
I wear a bracelet that has a small evil eye in the center of the chain. Because of the weight of the evil eye and the fineness of the chain, it often twists so the eye dangles on the inside of my wrist. This used to annoy me until I decided to use the restraightening as a way to practice gratitude.
Each time during the day I slide the chain around so the evil eye sits on top of my wrist, I send love to my daughters. I express gratitude that they are my precious children and bless their good health.
Create a gratitude practice of your own.
- Use an app like Think Up to remind yourself to focus on a meaningful gratitude thought or thoughts.
- Record a gratitude thought in your phone and relisten to it.
- Use your thought as a writing prompt and find evidence that supports it.
- Use a gratitude thought as a meditation mantra.
- Make a collection of gratitude flash cards and pick one each day to focus your intention upon.
- Use a gratitude thought as a password so you will have to type it frequently.
- Pair a gratitude thought with something you do multiple times a day.
- If saying grace before a meal is not a practice you currently enjoy, find a way that feels right to you to express gratitude before you eat.
Holidays can be difficult under the best of circumstances.
Especially now, having a Life Coach on your emotional and mental health team is pure gold!
I’m here to help you navigate through any challenges you’re facing this holiday season.
Let me know right here you’d like to talk about what’s going on for you and figure out how to make it better.