Raise your hand if you think this is true. I can tell you MY hand is raised right now! Every year I tell myself, “I’m just going to make it simple this year – no big deal. It doesn’t have to be perfect. No one cares….”

Here’s the thing though. I really love good food. And I love to cook good food. And Thanksgiving is a chance to make REALLY GOOD FOOD!!!! So I have this problem that tends to develop every year with me making good food the “right” (ie, MY 😉 ) way: seizing control of the kitchen in a focus on making deep rich gravy, crispy-skinned and juicy turkey, and perfectly creamy mashed potatoes, I lose touch throughout the day with my family, my kids, and my other guests. I slowly get lost in a haze of stuffing, brussels sprouts, and whipping cream that peaks in a frenzy of me anxiously urging people just before the meal, “stir this, put this on the table, NO DON’T DO THAT!!” It all ends up delicious, but not really the type of meaningful day I’m looking for.

Does anyone else have this problem???? Or maybe your stress is around the people who are gathering at your table – family can be hard, right? Or maybe you get anxious about travel? Or maybe it’s just trying to corral your kids when they’re bored or not behaving at the table? Or maybe it’s something else? Whatever it is, it seems like there’s always SOMETHING to worry about on this day of feasting and gathering. I know it’s not possible to make the stress go away completely, but I do have an idea that might make a dent.

So I’m proposing a challenge for you and myself to help make this Thanksgiving more meaningful, more connected, and less stressful. Here it is:

Make a genuine gesture of connection or appreciation or thankfulness to every family member and friend who is present at your Thanksgiving gathering. These gestures can be big or small, obvious or subtle. However, see if you can reach every person you encounter. Ideas might include:

  • Taking 5 minutes to talk with someone in a meaningful way
  • Giving someone a hug for no reason
  • Telling someone you are glad to see them
  • Inviting someone to cook with you
  • Playing with your kids
  • Inviting someone to go on a walk or hike
  • Telling someone what you appreciate about them
  • Whatever else you can think of!

And don’t forget to take a few minutes for you! You deserve appreciation and caring as well. Remember to pause on your Thanksgiving and remember what you are thankful for about YOURSELF – because it all starts there.

If this challenge was difficult for you, you may want to explore these ideas further with one of the counselors at our center. Schedule an appointment or contact us today. We look forward to speaking with you!

We all here at the Salt Lake Relationship Center wish you the very happiest Thanksgiving. Celebrate well, eat well, and enjoy your relationships to the fullest!