‘Eat, drink, be merry, and avoid cousin Mary if she robs your joy.’: 4 things to remember this Thanksgiving

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“Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful. To stop and smell the roses (or the marigolds as my little girl did). And while gratitude is good, holidays can also give us a mixed bag of emotions.

Hard things still happen even on the best of days, so here’s a little cheat sheet in case your feelings don’t know how to take a day off.

1. Food Guilt

Stuffing your face then taking a stab at your self-worth. Don’t do it. One day of bad eating won’t make you big, just like one day on a diet won’t make you thin. Eat and enjoy.

2. Family/Friend Dynamics

Go if you want, stay home if you want. Excuse yourself if you’re tired, or it’s too chaotic, or discussions compromise your beliefs. Boundaries are beautiful things, but sometimes boundary lines blur during the holiday season and our cheer gets the best of us. Just remember, ‘We have an obligation to love everyone, but some people we must love at a safe distance.’

Send them to the kiddy table and keep yourself at peace.

3. The Perfect Day

Burned those pie crusts? Can’t carve a turkey? Who cares. Ditch it. I heard Dominos still delivers. Forget the place settings, put on pjs, and fill your bellies with good company instead. I bet that’ll make for a more memorable Thanksgiving than if everything went right.

4. Missing A Loved One

Let yourself feel it all and feel it deep. I have this weird voodoo belief that a piece of each person we love is left behind with us when they go and carrying that piece may feel extra heavy on the bigger celebratory days. Let it sit with you. I don’t want to be forgotten one day, but I also want to be remembered joyfully. Find the tradition they loved and teach it to someone else, so it continues on.

That’s how we all stay alive—our goodness gets passed along.

That’s all I got. Eat, drink, be merry (avoid cousin Mary if she robs your joy), always do what’s best for you, and if you can’t find anything to be thankful for then just place your hand on your chest.

After all, ‘A grateful heart is a magnet for miracles.’

Happy Thanksgiving, from my big feelings to yours.”

Courtesy Stephanie Hanrahan

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Stephanie Hanrahan. Follow Stephanie on Facebook and Instagram.

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