You can tell I’ve been thinking about the way things were when I was a kid, and the way things are now. That’s only a difference of about 50 years, but the world has changed a lot since then. In some ways.
Take holiday traditions, specifically Thanksgiving. In my family, there was always a turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, a salad, some sort of vegetable (often green beans), rolls, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. There might be some variety in how the foods were prepared, but those were the general categories. Other things might be added, but you had to have the basics. When I was a kid, we went to my aunt’s house for the meal. When I grew up and lived at the other end of the state, we invited friends to join us for the meal. But Thanksgiving meant food and people.
My husband and I have very people-related jobs. So while we do enjoy getting together with friends and family, sometimes it feels very good to have time for just the two of us. We have had a few Thanksgivings like that, and the first time we planned one, we realized “the basics” meant a LOT of food. Leftover turkey is always good, and pie, but the other things may or may not carry over successfully into other meals. So we cut back the foods we were less fond of, and created smaller portions.
This year we are very fortunate to be sharing Thanksgiving with family, and we are looking forward to it! 🙂
In the long run, the important part is thankfulness. Which can be a part of any meal, no matter where you live or what you eat. Many spiritual paths include a prayer of some sort before eating, which includes the notion of thankfulness. I’ve sat thru before-meal prayers that were so long they were sermons, and the food was room temperature by the time you got to it. If you want to teach your children about thankfulness, talk with them about it during the meal or in the normal course of the day. My favorites were the ones where you bowed your head, said your thanks silently, and finished after 30-45 seconds with a joint “Amen,” or “So mote it be.”
How about focusing on what we are thankful for all day long? When we get up, let’s begin a list of things we are thankful for. Put the list in your pocket, and as the day goes on and you have a few moments, keep adding to the list. It can include serious things and silly things. If we can’t come up with at least 100 things by the end of the day, we haven’t tried. Let’s focus on being thankful. 🙂