Tomorrow here in the states many family and friends will celebrate Thanksgiving. Most will sit down to a traditional turkey dinner while others will enjoy a main dish a bit off the beaten path (barbequed ribs perhaps?). Either way, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it brings together loved ones without the obligation of gift-giving. In other words, for one holiday it seems we allow our presence and company to be the most important gift of all.
With the holiday season just moments away from commencing, some may be a bit anxious due to all of the to-dos that need to be accomplished, but I have a feeling for most of us, like myself, the childlike excitement is beginning to bubble up inside. There is just something indescribably magical about this time of year. It is ours to make of it as we choose. Often times our expectations let us down, but I suggest, we put our perceived notions of what the holidays should look like down and decide to be open, be clear about what is truly important and then just simply enjoy. After all, it is those unexpected invitations, kisses, conversations and moments that create the fairy dust that leaves us in awe as we reflect back.
Since the kick-off of the season unofficially tends to begin with Thanksgiving, here are a few ways to ensure that Thanksgiving, no matter where you are spending it or with whom, is enjoyable, memorable and leaves you feeling satisfied, but not miserable.
1. Have water in hand. To quell unnecessary eating with all of the appetizers and nibbles available, keep a glass of water with you at all times. Add cucumbers or lemon with ice cubes to keep your drink fresh and you will be able to thoroughly enjoy the main meal, as well as feel fantastic the next day.
2. Have a toast prepared. Especially if you are hosting the special dinner, have a toast that will inspire, add a chuckle and leave a wonderful memory for your guests. And even if you are not the hostess, always have a toast on hand . . . just in case.
3. Slow down and engage. Part of the reason so many people dread Thanksgiving is that they know they will overeat, so instead of worrying about how much food you are eating, focus on engaging in lively conversation. This will slow you down and allow your stomach to communicate when it is full to someone is better able to listen.
4. Take a walk. Since Thanksgiving is usually a day most people have off, there is no excuse to not stick to your workout regimen. Whether you skip out the door in the morning for your run, walk the dogs or take a long walk after dinner with relatives you haven’t seen in awhile, do yourself a favor and move that body.
5. Taste everything, don’t eat everything. There seems to be a never-ending table of food to try, and as each dish makes its way around the table, it’s hard to pass up something that catches your attention especially if it’s something you wouldn’t normally cook. Follow Bethany Frankel’s rule of thumb and try a bit or two of everything, but then walk away. Consider it a mini smorgasbord on your plate and your body will thank you tomorrow.
6. Board games. Yes, the football will be on and so will the Macy’s Day Parade in the morning, but why not have board games on hand. There are so many to choose from that will suit your family’s many different personalities and they are sure to bring large bouts of laughter and moments to savor.
7. Be grateful. Before getting out of bed Thursday morning or as you are going to bed tonight, take a moment to make a list in your journal of all the many things you are grateful for. It could be something as simple as I have running water or something as grand as the good health of my family. Whenever you choose to do it, I have a feeling that when you are through you will be amazed at how much you have to be grateful for.
For my many readers who are not in the states and most likely aren’t celebrating Thanksgiving, feel free to swap out this holiday for one that you will soon be attending. The key for all of us is to remember to continue to always be grateful, focus on relationships and don’t eat everything on our plates.
Have a lovely Thanksgiving and an auspicious start to the holiday season everyone! May it be simply luxurious in every possible way.