When my son was little, he'd get very crabby- as little boys sometimes do. I'd start a bath for him in the middle of the day. We'd add bubbles and play.
Sometimes I'd add a drop or two of blue food coloring to create an "ocean" for him. I referred to it as "changing it up a bit." Whatever was going to work to divert the crabbiness and find new energy.
During the holidays, I think it's important to find new ways to divert the crabbiness and find new energy.
Growing up, we had a huge Thanksgiving dinner. We took turns hosting it between my family's house and my Aunts. A long table with extra leafs added. The special silverware. The lovely table cloth. The crystal glasses. The food never all fit on the table- we'd have extra on the kitchen counter. There was never a shortage of people or food or champagne.
As the years went on, there was a shift in traditions. I was bouncing between my mom's house and my dad's house for Thanksgiving. Honestly, I didn't like it. The food was always amazing, but I was always missing the parent I wasn't with.
In adulthood, my family shifted more. My siblings were more spread out and it sized down to my Mom, my Step dad and my Brother and I. There would be various additions of people over the years, but this was the primary core group.
Seven years ago, I said to all of my family, "Anyone who wants to come to my house on Thanksgiving day is welcome. I am buying live lobsters to cook. I'll get clam chowder and shrimp cocktails. Bring your drink of choice." It was indulgent and wonderful and a great way to change things up. That's what we did. We had lobsters delivered in a box on my doorstep the Wednesday before and cooked them on Thanksgiving day. Lobster flew everywhere. My cats were quite happy. It was a mess and wonderful. We loved this new tradition.
I think holidays carry memories. Even the food carries a memory. If it makes you crabby, change it. We've had "lobster day" in lieu of "turkey day" for the past seven years.
This year we are changing again. We're back to a more traditional Thanksgiving dinner. We have more guests at the table and were keeping it simple but traditional.
Mom is hosting Thanksgiving this year. We're eating turkey.
I have a lot of friends who have lost loved ones in the recent past. I implore everyone to find their way during the holidays and do what makes you happy. Change it up if you need to and find a way that will make you feel at ease.
Happy Turkey Day. Happy Lobster Day. Happy "whatever you are eating" day. Happy Thanksgiving. May you find joy and peace with your family.