Thanksgiving Planning (hold the Martha Stewart)

Do you have a college student coming home for Thanksgiving?

Are you making big plans for the holiday?

Are you thinking everything should be extra perfect for this special homecoming?

It might seem really important to plan the perfect homecoming Thanksgiving celebration to welcome your child home… but can I throw out a few things to consider?

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that Thanksgiving weekend is one of the most highly traveled times of the year, and that the weather can be unpredictable and changeable in late November. Whether flying, driving, or coming home by bus or train, there can be delays, cancellations, missed connections, heavy traffic, and difficult road conditions.

Emotions may be running high: kids homesick, parents missing kids. You may not have seen each other in a couple of months. Many first year college students are also keen to see their high school friends who will also be home for the holiday. 

Family traditions for Thanksgiving often include elaborate and lengthy cooking plans, large family gatherings, extra leaves in the dining table, tablecloths and candles.

All this happens in a very short time window, potentially made shorter by travel glitches.

You might look for ways to simplify this year: the menu, the guest list, the preparations.

But more importantly, you might consider all the above factors I mentioned in this way:

Here is what is NOT within your control:

Things. Other people. What they do and say and think. How they feel. Weather. Traffic. Sometimes: how the turkey turns out, or the pumpkin pie.

Here is what IS within your control:

How you respond. What you think, and how you therefore feel. What you value. How you act. How flexible or open you are or aren’t. How much humor you can find in life. How much of life you welcome and embrace. How much you allow everybody to be who they are. How much love and compassion you created for yourself and others.

Your Thanksgiving planning? See it as a perfect opportunity, like every other moment in your life, to practice how you want to live your life.