Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Young Adult's Guide to an Awesome Thanksgiving
(compiled from four years of wonderful Waco celebrations)

My nook, Thanksgiving 2006
1. Stay where you are. If home is a place we go for holidays, be intentional about celebrating in the place where you live, work, or study.  Celebrations are one way to consecrate a place as home.

2. Be extravagant with your cooking. Buy the best and finest food, and prepare it with care and courage.

3. Invite anyone you can think of who might be alone or lonely. 
Thanksgiving 2011 Photo by Kt

4. Let the kitchen fill up with food and people and merry chaos.
Thanksgiving 2009

5. Serve sweet tea and tamales along with the turkey and dressing.

4. Try to celebrate with an equal number of family members and friends. Introduce your teenage cousins to your grad-school colleagues.  Recognize that the highest bonds of kinship are far above blood, nationality, or common interest.

5. Sing your prayer before eating. "For the Beauty of the Earth" makes a perfect Thanksgiving blessing. Don't be afraid to demand all four verses. 

Thanksgiving 2011 Photo by Kt
6. Go for a long walk after feasting and lingering at the table. Point out beautiful doors and interesting trees in the neighborhood. Say, "Happy Thanksgiving!" to everyone you see.

7. Try all the pies.

 Photo by Stephanie Harris Trevor
8. Give thanks for all the Thanksgivings past. Remember what it was like to sit at the kids' table. Try to name the songs Casey played when he came up from Ft. Hood for Thanksgiving in 2008.  Let Grant and Jenn know how much you appreciated being rescued from a solitary Thanksgiving last year. Laugh at the way Jon never let your wine glass go empty during that first holiday with friends.

Room for more, 2011. Photo by Kt
9. Let yourself be sad for all the miles, years, or hard conversations separating your from people you love. Cry a little if you must, but then imagine that your table is growing longer and longer, and that by the time dessert is served, every seat will be filled with some faraway friend.

10. Write letters to people you are thankful for. Name specific reasons you give thanks to God for them.

Thanksgiving 2008

11. Rest. Don't be ashamed to drift off to sleep as the room fills with low conversations or the buzz of a football game.

12. Don't fret about how or where or with whom you will celebrate next year.  Give thanks for the hope that God will bring you to some glad table, whether as host, guest, daughter, or friend.

Thanksgiving 2008

Thanksgiving 2008 My strangely pinched smile does not do justice to my very real joy at this meal.

Another Thanksgiving, another weird smile. The grad students, Thanksgiving 2011.
Thanksgiving 2011. All is well.

How did you celebrate Thanksgiving this year?

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