Some thoughts on these stay-home holidays this year:
I was born and lived my first 36 years in Toronto Canada. Canadian Thanksgiving is in October and way less of a thing than here in the US. It’s on a three day weekend, Friday through Monday. Many families eat their big meal on the Sunday so they can travel home on Monday.
When we moved to Minneapolis in 1995, I wanted to experience the “to do” over American Thanksgiving. We hosted friends and family for years, sometimes as many as 15-18 for the sit down meal. Then came the last year. I remember people commented how delicious it all was and also how much work I had done. I remember sitting down at the cleared table, agreeing and telling folks that was why I wasn’t going to do it anymore.
That was around the time I started a retail business, first with two partners, later on my own. Thanksgiving became a rest day from the seasonal retail madness. We would cook a meal with our adult daughter but mostly rested and watched movies, staying in pajamas all day. Christmas became the same, a well deserved rest at the end of a busy holiday season for my business.
This year, Thanksgiving is different for all–or rather, it should be. I keep reading articles about the hardship of missing the usual celebration, how we need to dig down at this time, to help stem this pandemic, just this once. Or twice, if we count Christmas.
I’m here to say that I enjoy our “do nothing” celebrations very much. Granted, we are empty nesters without nearby grandchildren. But changing, reducing, making a different kind of holiday can be very rewarding.
I remember getting a Christmas tree for my apartment when I was in my 20s. I had split up with my first husband (married too young but that’s a whole other story) and wanted to celebrate being on my own. I had just a few ornaments but I did have lights. I scrounged through my drawers, finding all the single earrings I had and hug them on the tree, plus other bits and bobs that were hanging around. It was still pretty skimpy so I pulled out a box of black and white family photos and displayed some of those too, tucked between the branches or clipped on with clothespins. The tree was fun and funky and funky and I still remember it, forty-some years later. .
For those with children at home, this Thanksgiving and Christmas could be something they remember all their lives, the year without the stress of traveling or hosting a large gathering. Stripping away all but being together can bring a warm contentment without rushing.