a different take on Thanksgiving dinner

by Alice Dommert
November 7, 2013
Stress, Wholebeing, Yoga

For years I planned, organized, cooked, and hosted a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all of the trimmings, and decorations just like you see in the movies or on T.V. At least that was my goal. In order to orchestrate this event, I would take two days off before Thanksgiving and spend all of Thanksgiving Day preparing dinner for our guests. Returning to work on Friday, frazzled and answering the question “How was your Thanksgiving?” with the standard, “Oh it was good to see everyone and the food was delicious.”

About five years ago, after I answered the usual question, I took some time to reflect on the question more deeply. What I realized is that I didn’t and hadn’t truly enjoyed Thanksgiving for the day that it is meant to be in many, many years. What I was doing was answering the call of the media trying to create the Norman Rockwell picture of a homespun Thanksgiving family gathering. Falling prey to the commercial criteria of a wonderful Thanksgiving including the stress that goes along with it and the disappointment when something doesn’t turn out as planned. I never stopped long enough to hear the yearning voice inside of me wanting to spend the day experiencing everything for which I am thankful. It was time to create a new Thanksgiving tradition.

My husband and I decided we needed to spend Thanksgiving together as a nuclear family away from the hustle and bustle in a place where there are no expectations of grandeur, just nature, community, and a prepared Thanksgiving meal. We found just the place. For the past five years we have spent our Thanksgiving in the Adirondacks reconnecting with each other in nature and sharing a community meal at a local YMCA camp.

My Thanksgiving day now consists of getting up in the morning and taking a long hike with my family and our dogs. Cozying up to the warmth of a fire, sharing our gratitude for each other and all of the gifts of life that have been bestowed upon us. We play some board games or share in the fun of watching our favorite teams play football. The conversation flows easily and continually. Around 12 o’clock we leave to go to the YMCA that is situated, on a distant shore of Lake George. We arrive, hike our favorite path and play our version of hide and go seek, then shovel the snow covered basketball court and play a few rounds of HORSE and four square. If there is enough snow, we build a snowman or have a snowball fight depending on the mood of the moment. We spend most of the time laughing, creating new memories, and reminiscing.

Needless to say, our time playing creates a voracious appetite. When the sun begins to set and the chill grows in the air, we go to the canteen to share a wonderful Thanksgiving Day prayer and buffet with our YMCA extended family. Thanksgiving day for me has been transformed from a day of working to create the perfect meal to a day of experiencing everything for which I am grateful and sharing my deep gratitude with my family and my community.

Be Well,
Lora Spector
deliver me wellness
New Jersey yoga team

Alice Dommert

Alice Dommert

Founder, Wholebeing Architect

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