Well, friends, I survived my first Thanksgiving not working in retail. What? You were thinking I would be ecstatic, missing out on the madness of getting to work at 4:00 pm, visiting one location, then heading to another, and another, and another, in the midst of cookoo traffic, just to go home and take a nap before doing it all over again, right?
Wrong-o. The truth is, after a decade of working over 60 hours a week during the holidays, I honestly don’t know what to do with myself. I’ve been fortunate to have had my husband stay home with the kids the first two years we were married, while he was in grad school. He held down the fort while I kept mad hours and ate snippets of leftovers in the car. I don’t have Thanksgiving food traditions, except those times I’ve made a quick dish for retail friends who I love and who live the same madness year after year. They get that for lots of people- not just in retail, but in healthcare, emergency services, food service, and…I could go on and on- Thanksgiving isn’t the happy table surrounded by loved ones, filled with miles of home-cooked food, and followed by football, naps, and sleeping late the next day. So we feast on a quick turkey-cranberry wrap (my fave), grab a smoothie to go, and pack a Thermos full of enough coffee to feed a fleet and head out the door. That’s the real-world holiday experience for me.
Having said that…this year blew my mind. After all that running around like a madwoman, I decided I would do things differently. I went to hot yoga in the downtown area near my house, since the class was led by my amazing Yogi friend, and since they accepted donations to replenish our local food bank’s stores. The class completely kicked my butt- y’all, yoga is hard. But spending 75 minutes stretching and strengthening the bejeezus out of your core while meditating over gratitude will do a lot for a girl’s psyche. After that (and a good shower), the hubs and I took the kids to his parents’ house, where my parents, sister and future brother-in-law, and brother-in-law and sister-in-law were waiting. We hung out, talked about my sister’s pending nuptials, and my expectant sister-in-law’s pending delivery. Our families were so happy, and the kids had an incredible time. Did I mention my in-laws rented a bouncy house? Yeah. That happened.
We ate; we talked; we loved on each other. It was marvelous. I was reminded of how incredible it is to focus on people, and experience life with people, as opposed to focusing on things, and the accumulation of things. We all slept well with our hearts and our bellies full. What a beautiful life it is, living in each day together.
And today? My Black Friday? I did what I’ve wanted to do on Black Friday for a zillion years. I decorated. And no I didn’t just decorate. I crafted. Like, I used so much Mod Podge my hubs asked me to open a window to relieve some of the fumes. (For those non-crafters out there, Mod Podge is really just watered down Elmer’s glue, so you can imagine how much I was using.) It was a full day. But my tree is up, stockings are hung, the 24 stories of Christmas are selected and seated next to our Good Deed Manger (more to come on that in a future post), and all our gifts are wrapped. I know. I am insane. I’ll give you the deets to these crafts in the near future, but since I want to go snuggle my hubs and watch Season 4 of Boardwalk Empire right now, I’ll just leave you with pictures.
In the meantime, hug your fam. Give encouraging words to the cashier at Walmart (or Target ;)). Thank your garbage men for their hard work. Take a bottle of water to those guys cutting grass by your house. Buy coffee for the guy who panhandles outside your office. Don’t be too quick to hand out your cast-offs and then keep the best for yourself. We have it so good, friends. As I started to donate the grossest food in my pantry (like seriously, how did that even get in my pantry???), I realized that people who are struggling don’t need worn out clothes, condensed cream of broccoli, and a toy fire truck with a missing wheel. And those people who work this week and weekend, they don’t need us yelling at them about the coupon that doesn’t work or the wait at the Minute Clinic. There’s enough grace to go around, if we can find it. I’ve struggled to find mine, but y’all, I’m gonna find it every day, for the next 30 days, I can promise you that. Here’s to the holidays-