Thanksgiving is a holiday that many people really like, because it brings family and friends together. For others, it is a holiday filled with dread. Regardless of your stance on Thanksgiving, it is occurring on Thursday. Thus, here are a few thoughts to get the most out of the holiday:
1) Thanksgiving is a great excuse to take the day off and spend time with family and friends. Cherish this Thanksgiving, and be thankful for whichever family and friends you are able to spend the holiday with.
2) If celebrating the holiday without close family who are no longer around, especially for the first time since the loss of the loved one, it can be helpful to incorporate traditions done previously. It is also healthy to share stories about loved ones no longer around and the positive experiences you had with them in the past (especially if no longer around due to death as opposed to divorce and estrangement).
3) If your kids are getting on your nerves while you are trying to prepare the Thanksgiving meal, it can be helpful to assign them tasks to keep them occupied (i.e., make name plates, set the table). If need be, finding a way to get them out of the house for a bit can be helpful (i.e., have a family member take them to the park or out for hot chocolate if a store is open).
4) Add elements to the holiday that make you happy (i.e., watching football, movie night with the family after dinner, watching home movies as a family, going to Black Friday sales at midnight as a family, etc.)
5) Put away the smartphone, tablet, computer, etc. and spend the day actively engaged with family and friends.
6) Keep the peace at the table: avoid topics likely to cause significant arguments (i.e., politics).
7) Try to appease everyone with choices of food (i.e., if people have different preferences for type of stuffing based on their tradition growing up, try to honor that).
8) Take pictures. It’s often nice to reminisce about Thanksgiving years later and having pictures, especially if you are spending the day with family members or friends that you don’t see too often.
Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving to All!
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*Disclaimer: The previous information is intended as general guidance based on my professional opinion, does not constitute an established professional relationship, and should not replace the recommendations of a psychologist or other licensed professional with whom you initiate or maintain a professional relationship*