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  • Writer's pictureKelli

Thanksgiving is Hard

Thanksgiving is hard.

There, I said it.

I'm hosting. My family is (mostly) a delight. We pretty much agree politically AND religiously. I know, right? What have I to whine about?

And yet...Can we stop pretending it's easy??

Thanksgiving is hard. The actual event, the thing of it, the fuss, the preparations... the mess.

As I said to my sister-in-law: "I don't mind hosting at all! But yes, also, I'm very tired."

A normal week throws me off my grown-up game, much less a dinner for 16.

Cleaning shouldn't be that big of a deal since we live in a spotless mansion. *sarcasm* But, in reality, my Tupperware is all mixed up like a giant Island of Misfit Toys, I think there's dust on the baseboards from 1964, and I'm positive there's a pet living here we forgot about.

Cooking shouldn't be that difficult: It's one of my hobbies I enjoy doing - easy, right? But the Thanksgiving meal with a giant turkey I don't ever make the other 364 days of the year (I've named him Gus), getting the just-right ingredients for the just-right recipes (I'm up to four stores so far), timing all the food to come out of the oven at just the right time to serve it hot, the kitchen heating up as more cooks shove into the small space to help - it's a trick!

Thanksgiving is hard.

But the other ladies in the family ask what they can do to help, they bring side dishes, load the dishwasher, serve out the pie. They make the burden lighter, they make the day's work less.

The cousins pile in, the grandparents, aunts and uncles join in. Extra dogs join in the fun and run rambunctiously around as the volume increases.

We sit and give thanks.

Thanksgiving is hard.

Thanksgiving is worth it.


Thanksgiving is hard.

A Monday goes by and I doubt I've said thanks for anything except, ohmygoodness, thank you for this bed from which I shall never move.

Tuesday goes by and I've muttered maybe one quick thanks when the balance on the account stays in the clear.

Wednesday...Just: Wednesday.

Giving thanks shouldn't be that hard since life is peppermint perfect practically permanently! *sarcasm* But, in reality, we're tired. The daily alarm jolts us awake toward another day of obligations, balancing and worry.

Personally, I want to believe I'm a fairly joyful person who tends to see things optimistically (if not a bit stand-offishly). Thanks can come easily to me, if I work at it. But life continues with its surprises. I get run down. Thanksgiving becomes a chore, obligation.

But then a friend or two come along and ask what they can do to help. They pitch in with words that encourage and lift. They take time on an ordinary weekday to sit over cups of tea, laughing as we vent and compare notes, cheering each other on. A friend says thank you to me for some small gesture I've made. A stranger helps me at the store, smiling as he wishes me a good day. I note an answer God has given to a prayer I've asked. They make the burden lighter. They make the day's work easier.

I sit and give thanks.

Thanksgiving is hard.

Thanksgiving is worth it.


To make it practical, I tried to think of a couple ideas to help. Maybe pick one and extend it to someone you know, someone you love or even to yourself:

1. Write a note of thanks and ACTUALLY mail it. Tell them what you see in them and why you're thankful for it.

2. Yes, this is an oldie, but I promise it works: Take time to write three things you're thankful for each day. Speak them out loud to the Lord.

3. Do something for someone that is specific. Do not offer "Let me know what I can do!" - just DO IT. They feel weird asking you to help even if you offer, so just do it.

4. Text someone and ask them out for dinner. Or, if you're married, reach out to a couple you'd like to get to know.

5. Encourage someone younger than you by offering to take them to coffee. Show up, encourage and help them learn something you know how to do. Yes, indeed, you have something to offer. You don't need all the answers, I promise.

6. Maybe you're the one going through the hard time. Give yourself grace by letting others host and help and encourage. But never forget to find thanks for something. Anything. You. God. What He's done. All thanks be to God.

6. And, most importantly of all: If you are to find yourself sitting on your butt this Thanksgiving, thinking how terribly delightful the day is and how EASY the day is: GRAB A TOWEL AND DO SOME DISHES. sheesh.


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