On a Personal Note: Respect the Bird

There’s a well known rule in my family.

Respect the Bird!

Let the Turkey have his day before the fat man in the red suit takes over.  No music, no decorations, no lights until we’ve all enjoyed the glory of the bird.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  Since Hallmark hasn’t made NCAA Selection Sunday an “official” holiday.

For sure, it’s the combination of time with family I adore and gluttonous consumption of my mom’s cooking that moves Thanksgiving to the top of the list.

It’s also some of what is NOT a part of Thanksgiving that I cherish most.  No pressure for Southern Living worthy home decorations.  No Pinterest one-ups-manship teacher gifts.  No elf we have to remember to hide.  No deciding which not-so-perfect family photo will grace the front of the card we will pay to mail so people can throw it away.

I swear I don’t hate the holiday that comes after Thanksgiving.

But honestly, the older I get the more I wish that Thanksgiving was the holiday that started right after Labor Day and lasted all of the way until the end of the year.  Not the other one that somehow manages to drain every ounce of my energy and willpower all while doing a doozy on the bank account.

Here’s my angle: What this world needs, now more than ever, is a solid four months to focus on the things that really matter. On simplicity.  On kindness.  On gratitude.  On togetherness.

Image result for turkey fighting santa gif

I will treasure every moment of Thanksgiving.  I will wear stretchy pants and I will be grateful for the chance to eat way too much with people I love. I will even find some pleasure in the inevitable awkward drama that somehow seeps its way in to everyone’s family gatherings. After all, what matters is that we are together.

Come Friday morning though, I’m sticking with the bird.  I won’t be out shopping.  For the second year in a row my family will bundle up and #optoutside instead.  When I decorate for that other holiday this year, I will donate at least half of the decorations I’ve accumulated over the years instead of cluttering my house with them and then agonizing over putting them away in January.  I am going to spend more time volunteering with my sons to spread holiday cheer to others than I do shopping online for stuff my boys don’t need.

Before you mutter Grinch – I do give gifts.  Experiences, not things.  But that’s a whole ‘nother post coming soon.

Until then, keep it simple.  Be kind.  Be grateful.  #respectthebird


On a Personal Note is a weekly column by Stacy Schweikhart that addresses the tricky challenge of blending life with work.  Part life hacks. Part life coach. Part amateur Elephant Journal. Hopefully not too much Dear Diary.  But no promises.