We are now about a week away from the big feast known as Thanksgiving.  Are you hosting?  Do you feel overwhelmed – even if you are not hosting?  I can help!

My first post in this four-part series was all about making it work with your dietary restrictions.  This part 2 is all about breathing and basking in the holiday season.  About slowing down, asking for the help you need, bringing together the people you love, and enjoying these times of food and gathering together.

Of course, after the big feast we rush into Black Friday, Small Business Saturday (I am a small business owner and would appreciate your business) and then less than 4 weeks until Christmas, and Hanukah begins at sundown on Christmas Eve this year, too.  Regardless of what holiday you celebrate you may be feeling the pressure building.  This is the best time to take a step back, and truly slow down and try to look at the holidays from a different angle.  Breathe, breathe, breathe, and take care of yourself.

If you are the host of one or both of these meals, perhaps you could make a list of what things others can bring (you know they’ll be asking), or simply ask everyone to bring whatever side dish means “Thanksgiving” to them.  Ask them what they are bringing (keep a list, just in case everyone decides to bring green bean casserole.)  You can assign simple things like rolls (even if you don’t eat rolls), appetizers, vegetables, or whatever someone wants to bring.  Some of the best Thanksgiving meals I have had are when people from different backgrounds, ethnic groups, etc. get together for a meal it is exciting, fun, and different.  It is truly wonderful to try other people’s favorites, and enjoy and celebrate the abundance of this holiday.

Most importantly, I believe it is important to remember that Thanksgiving is a holiday about gratitude, family and friends, the gathering of your loved ones to eat, nourish themselves, fill their souls, and spirits.  Allow it all to happen just the way it does, breathe, and enjoy a grateful, joyous day.

Because of the diversity in my family, we respect everyone’s religious beliefs, but don’t necessarily participate in the same prayers, or blessings; we simply go around the table and each person tells everyone what they are thankful for – for Thanksgiving.  I am always touched and humbled by the responses when you ask the simple question of “What are you thankful for?”  Embrace each person’s viewpoint and allow everyone to contribute – then get busy eating.

When you bring people together amazing things happen.  When you bring people together with food even more amazing happens.  Sit down, give thanks, and enjoy!!  Embrace everything this holiday means to you and enjoy, relax into it.  Eat, share, enjoy!!

I’d love to hear what Thanksgiving means to you.  Comment below.  What are you thankful for? 

Happy Thanksgiving!!