We're a week from Thanksgiving tomorrow! It seems like everyone I talk to is giving me advice on how to make the most of the holiday. Some of it is useless. For instance, I don't think I'm going to stretch my stomach for maximum food capacity by eating a pound of grapes on Thanksgiving eve. I'm also confident I won't need to hire a babysitter so I can sleep off the meal.
I once heard of a family that used a paper table cloth, similar to the kind at a family restaurant, and let the kids color all over it while the meal was being prepared. It keeps them in the middle of the excitement without getting too close to the stove or the desserts. That's useful. I'd probably add my own little design to it too, between basting the turkey and checking on the rolls.
To this day the best advice I've received on how to enjoy Thanksgiving has come from my old granny. She told me years ago to make sure I have the television tuned in to the scheduled football games. Of coarse I put my own spin on it. We enjoy our meal sitting down at the dinner table, but once we're done anybody interested in putting up their feet and relaxing in front of the t.v. is more than welcome to. As the mood lightens I hand out a trivia game about the teams playing. I create it myself with a lot of help from the Internet since I'm not an expert on the players or the game.
To entice the contestants, who are always half asleep by this point, I offer first, second and third place prizes. They're won based on the combination of order of completion and most correct answers. There is an automatic disqualification for anybody caught on the Internet. The prizes are usually a pie, a bottle of wine or a pair of tickets to a home game.
I tie it all into the theme of Thanksgiving by requiring all participants to announce to the group what they're thankful for when they turn in their trivia sheet. Somebody always ends up crying, usually the biggest guy in the room, and the family always ends up bonding.
For the rest of the group that doesn't know a lick about football trivia we enjoy a game of Apples to Apples (such a great game for groups) or another card game. Playdough and Legos are set out for the kids. We sit and chat and snack on sweets. We laugh till we cry and make plans to get together again.
It all sounds easy and fun but I do get stressed out over the organized chaos of it all. I just do my best to stay cool and keep the mood light. It's not the time to discuss mortgages or school grades. It's not the day of the year to wish for more stuff. It's a day of satisfaction and gratitude.
I hope you all can spend this next week preparing your hearts as well as your pantries and homes for Thanksgiving. If you find yourself stressing over the responsibilities of it all just remember that whatever you're thankful for would probably bring tears to some big guys eyes. We're all important to somebody and whatever our role in life is, no matter how big or small it feels, is huge to the people that love us.
By: Jessica Connor