Happy Thanksgiving: Put Down that Fork and Remote Control

When did Thanksgiving become a time to gorge ourselves on football games? When did it become a time to eat so much that we can’t get off the sofa? Dishes that are never eaten during the year are eaten on Thanksgiving day. Pumpkin, mincemeat, apple and cherry pies, cranberry sauce, mashed sweet potatoes baked with marshmallows on top, dressing and gravy. Some women spend hours in the kitchen cooking. Women who never cook all year have the responsibility to cook a huge meal for their extended families.

Restaurants have taken the burden off of those who can afford to pay $30-$40 per person to dine from a buffet loaded with the Thanksgiving necessities. A glass of wine will cost about $20 depending on where you live. It takes about seven hours to cook the meal and less than one hour to eat it. Everyone retires to the family or living room with groans. “I can’t believe I ate that much.” “What’s for dessert?” Clean up takes another two hours.

The football games begin. Some homes have two or three TVs. A different game on each TV. People begin to shout at the TV. Arguments start because someone’s team is losing. Others are happy because when there are losers there are winners. Desert is served and instantly devoured by the crowd. More beer and wine are served. Four hours later the games end.

I wonder if the Pilgrims watched football after dinner. Of course, they didn’t. They talked to each other about their lives. They talked about how much work they had to do to grow the food they were eating. The children played games with sticks and stones. They didn’t eat the foods that we have. They had corn, potatoes, chicken, and rabbit. No canned pumpkin, frozen cranberries, or instant gravy in a package. They had very little electricity. They probably went to bed after dinner.

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks. How do we do that? Don’t watch football after dinner. Go for a walk or a hike with your family. Ditch the cell phones, ipads, computers and explore the outside. Teach your children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews that life is about family. Don’t just chat with someone in your family who might be suffering. Sit down and talk for an hour or two. Develop a true relationship of trust and understanding.

Thanksgiving is a time to reconnect.

Five ways to reconnect with your family on Thanksgiving: Help prepare the dinner

Don’t just bring a dish to pass. Help cook the food in the kitchen. Talk to the person who is hosting the dinner.

Engage in Conversation at the table

Sit next to someone you haven’t seen for awhile. Ask them questions about their life. Let that person know you really care. Maybe you only see them once or twice a year. Don’t yell across the table.

Help Clean Up

The hostess may refuse your help at first. Help anyway. If you are the hostess, prepare containers that will store the leftovers. Work as a team and the cleanup will go faster. Communicate with the others.

Declare Family Time

Ask everyone to put away their digital devices. Turn of the TV. Bring out the card and board games. Divide into groups. Children, teenagers, and adults. Let them choose an appropriate game. Let the games begin. You will see the change.

Get Some Exercise

Go outside and take a walk or a hike. Observe nature. Take someone with you or go alone. Take the time to think about your life. Are you happy? If not, how are you going to change?

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my friends and family!

Life happens when you take chances.

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