Thanksgiving was delightful; we had my husband’s mother, his aunt, one of his brothers and sister-in-law, and my father over.
We just sat by the fire chatting and enjoying each other’s company. Oh, and we ate a massive feast, too, which I didn’t get any pictures of, but Philip took a few pictures of the pretty table my mother-in-law and I set:
I had a surprisingly stress-free holiday despite all the cooking and cleaning I did, probably because my mother-in-law came over and spent the night on Wednesday and we stayed up late drinking wine and preparing food, but also because I remember reading some commentary from Vox Day last year that really put holiday preparations into perspective. Vox reposted it this year, so I’m quoting it here:
If you are a man:
- Remember that the women are putting in a lot of work and are feeling a lot of stress. This is not the time to remember things at the last minute or lament how things were done differently when you were a child. Avoid throwing curve balls.
- Don’t tell her to relax. She’s not going to do so anymore than you are during a hard-fought basketball game. Holiday-hosting can perhaps be best understood as a competitive sport for women, even if the only competitors are in her mind.
- Ask her if there is anything you can do twice per day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Simply having someone willing to run out to the store once or twice, if necessary, can save her considerable time and reduce tensions.
- Pour yourself a glass of wine as soon as it gets dark. Offer her one. She’ll probably need it.
- Don’t let her get away with snapping at you or anyone else. The objective is to be helpful and considerate, not a doormat.
If you are a woman:
- Try to remember that it’s a celebration, not a competition, and the world will not end if a particular dish is not served or something doesn’t go exactly the way you planned it.
- The only person who can ruin the holiday for yourself is you. In fact, the only person who is likely to ruin the holiday for everyone else is you. Don’t be that woman.
- If someone is taking pictures or video, just smile. Drawing additional attention to yourself by complaining and protesting looks far more ridiculous than any bedhead or lack of makeup does.
My father called me today to tell me what a nice time he’d had, and it made me start thinking about how much better I feel when our extended family is all together. Sure, we don’t see eye to eye on some things and sometimes we irk or annoy each other, but one of the great lies of modernistic liberalism is that blood is no thicker than water. The truth is that no one has your back like your family does; friends come and go, but the people you share kinship with are (or should be) your foundation and fortress. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to let the petty crap go and focus on how grateful I am for family, both nuclear and extended, especially extended.
On yesterday’s post, Mrs. Minter remarked:
You know, I got a little bit of confusion from co-workers this week when I declined to celebrate Thanksgiving with them in the form of a pot luck. I like my co-workers, but I simply am tired of celebrating holidays with people other than my own family on days other than the actual holiday. Was I being a grump? I guess. But, I am now having a fantastic vacation at home with the people I am meant to spend it with- with the extra energy I didn’t spend elsewhere. I know my family appreciates it.
I completely get where she’s coming from.
If you didn’t get to see your family this Thanksgiving, make sure to see them at Christmas. And if you can move closer to be with them, do it.