This week is Thanksgiving, and it is a holiday that everyone can celebrate.
It isn't about religion, and it isn't exclusive to family; it's about spending time with people because we want to, and being grateful for how much we have. Yes, that part often gets lost in the shuffle, but whether we announce it at the dinner table, or whisper it to someone after a glass of wine, we all know that we are lucky to have people to care for, and who care about us.
Our family spends Thanksgiving with dear friends, and that has become a new tradition; they are our other family - our new normal. It is warm, welcoming and comfortable; I could wear my pajamas at the dinner table, paint my toes (not at the dinner table), and they wouldn't mind in the least. I like that.
Lives change, and as much as we want our traditions to stay the same, they can't. We are allowed to feel sad when we can't do them anymore, but we can always make room for new ones, which is kind of exciting when you think about it.
It gives us an opportunity to try something else, to find out all over again what we do (and don't) like. And, they don't even have to be big, gigantic, extravagant traditions, they can be small, dollar-store ones, that are imperfect, and not quite thought out until we decide they should be. There is no limit to how many we are allowed to have, and we can change our mind whenever we want.
I remember trying to uphold the tradition of going to a Christmas Tree Farm every year. It was fun driving through the countryside (well, sort of, I think it was New Jersey), sipping hot apple cider with our frozen, mittened fingers, and trying to find the most perfect tree in the forest. But, as time went on, it felt more like something we had to do, instead of a nice day out; we would rush out of the house early, the drive seemed to take forever, they would run out of cider, and someone always complained about lying on the ground trying to cut down the too-big tree with the world's smallest saw.
Then, one year I realized we didn't have to do that anymore; our new tradition became a trip to the local hardware store, a tree tied onto the roof of my car by a very nice person, and a cup of hot chocolate at the local café. It isn't a picture storybook afternoon, but it is a tradition, it makes us happy, and it is a far more peaceful way to start off our December.
Why not spend some time thinking up new traditions? One's that suit you, your friends and family now. Have them at random times during the year, not just around the Holidays. Ask everyone what they would like to do, or what they wish you did more of together. You might be surprised, and it might be simpler than you thought......
Have a lovely Thanksgiving!
Photograph borrowed from www.decoradventures.com