Lessons from Thanskgiving...

lessons for clara

Dear Clara, We’ve finally arrived at just about my favorite holiday of the year.  And not just mine.  I think everyone feels this way to some degree.  I confess that I really didn’t appreciate Thanksgiving for what it is until I went off to college and realized what a gift it is to be able to come home and sit around a shared table to take stock of good things around us.  Thanksgiving is such a unique holiday in that it’s something celebrated by nearly every American, regardless of religion or geography or race or anything else.  Everyone does it their own way, but just about everyone does it.

For us, we're in a bit of an inbetween stage.  Sometimes Thanksgiving is at our house far away from home, and sometimes we still go home to celebrate.  But in the ones that I’ve kept watch over, here’s what I’ve learned always makes the holiday come together:

  • Always have room for one more: Thanksgiving is all about the opportunity to come home and be around your closest family and friends.  But not everyone can travel, not everyone has someone nearby, not everyone’s plans worked out.  Always have room for at least one more person at your table; you’ll be grateful you extended the invitation I promise.
  • Share with those unfamiliar with the holiday: Thanksgiving really provokes a bit of a fascination amongst those who are non-Americans.  As you travel the world, or meet travelers at home, share this holiday with those who otherwise wouldn’t get to experience it.
  • Set your table the night before: You’ll thank yourself the next day.  Also, set your champagne in the refrigerator the night before as well.  There’s no start to the holiday meal without at least one decently cold champagne toast!
  • Count up how many oven dishes you have: It’s amazing but nearly everyone I know, myself included, have found themselves in a position where everything just won’t fit in the oven.  Abroad, where ovens are tiny, this is even easier to overlook.  Do a double check of what needs to go into the oven and when it needs to be there, to make sure you can fit everything in.
  • Make an effort to be grateful:   Regardless of anything that might happen on this holiday, it is first and foremost about gratitude and mindfulness.  Set some time aside, whether on your own, or as a shared experience around the table, to really think about your blessings and what you’re grateful for.  Even in tougher times, we are still given so much, and we should take this opportunity to acknowledge what we have and how we can share it best.

And remember that I will always be grateful for you.  All my love,

Mom