Are You Doing This on Thanksgiving - From My Family to You

If you've talked with a family member this week you know there is disappointment in the air. Honor that feeling. It makes us sad not to come together to celebrate the very thing we value most in the world – our relationships. It hurts. We feel cheated, angry, afraid, as if we don’t want to get our hopes up for anything right now. 

You miss the traditions, the food, the table decorating, the hours in the kitchen fussing over the stuffing, the family laughter, watching parades and football together and the hugs. 

Ok. There. Let all that out. We can release that which we own. Name and own the disappointment. 

Now let’s have some fun. What won’t you miss this year? The money you saved not doing mini makeovers in the house. Buying food that will get wasted – that you really don’t need or use. How your brother and sister-in-law don't help clean up. The uncomfortable moment when Grammie asks Matt when he is finally going to get married, or Stewart and Alicia when they’ll finally have a child, or you why her mother’s antique candlesticks she gave you are not on the table. And the angst you feel hoping the discussion doesn't turn to politics. (Where is Alec Baldwin when you need him?) 

We have a large family and I used to think holidays weren't complete if someone was missing. Now I celebrate who is there, not lament over who is not. 

We have six children – 5 girls and one boy. One of them has to self-quarantine because of possible exposure and most of them are just being cautious about travel. We have our only son with us who is thrilled he will have exclusive access to all the holiday baking I did. (Note – The freezer bags are already half empty and it is only Tuesday.)

I invite you right now to shift your perspective to what Thanksgiving it truly about, my friend. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday in the world. No presents. No worries. Just love and appreciation. 

Traditions ground us in what we value – things we can count on. Nobody said you can’t create new traditions. Here are the new traditions our children set up for this year. 

  1. A Zoom call in the morning with traditional virtually shared Mimosa/Champagne Toast.
  2. Going round robin on the call where everyone says something that they are grateful for. Traditionally we write this in a Thanksgiving Journal that I get out each year. This year I will write the entries in for everyone.
  3. Taking plates of carefully prepared food and treats to the porches of family members who are sheltering in place.
  4. A scheduled time in the evening for a coordinated traditional watching of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation via Netflix – complete with Clark swearing when the Christmas lights he spent all day putting up won’t turn on and remembering their grandfather laughing hysterically at that part because he could relate. 

Here are me messages especially for you. I am grateful for you. I am grateful that you read my writing. I value you more than you will ever know. You inspire me to keep writing and sharing. I appreciate you for just how special you are to me. And don't ever forget that. 

Time is not measured by the years that you live,

But by the deeds that you do and the joy that you give.

And each day as it comes brings a chance to each one,

To love to the fullest, leaving nothing undone,

That would brighten the life or lighten the load,

Of some weary traveler lost on life's road.

So what does it matter how long we may live,

If as long as we live we unselfishly give.

-Helen Steiner Rice 


10 Mindful Ways to Give Thanks This Year: 

  1. Write a gratitude letter to a mentor, family member, or someone important whom you have not properly thanked.
  2. Keep a Gratitude Journal with a list of things for which you are thankful.
  3. Keep a Gratitude Box where you collect cards, letters and other keepsakes you collect throughout the year from people you appreciate.
  4. Create a Family Journal that is brought out at every Thanksgiving dinner whereby each family member enters what they are thankful for.
  5. Put every family member’s name in a hat. Pull a name and give a specific reason why you are thankful for that person.
  6. Do something special for a homeless shelter, battered women’s shelter, convalescent home or other charity and include a special note as to why you care about them.
  7. Gather toys, clothes, and home furnishings to take to the Goodwill, Salvation Army, or thrift store.
  8. Drop a handwritten note of thanks to your coworkers.
  9. Take the time to write a card of thanks to a veteran and send it to the local veteran’s hospital.
  10. Cook a meal or teats, package it individually for safety reasons and deliver it to your local fire department or police department for Thanksgiving.

I will be thinking of you Thanksgiving Day. And appreciating you every day. Love to you from me and my family. 

As you anticipate your career strategy for 2021, here's a link to my FREE eBook - 31 Executive Presence Practices for Leaders.

Your coach and friend,

Mary Lee

P.S. Feel free to send this link to someone who could benefit from it. We are all walking down the same road in life looking for a hand to hold. Sometimes we must be the hand that reaches out.

Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE is an executive coach and 19-year corporate CEO who helps leaders have more effective careers, happier lives and better relationships. Request a free consultation call.



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