I’ve been procrastinating for days now. Every time I look into the refrigerator, I wince at the pungent smell of rotting vegetables, rock hard stinky cheeses, moldering leftovers and sour milk. It’s not appealing, I know, but it’s what we empty-nesters have to deal with everyday.
Our cupboard is bare, but I can’t seem to force myself out the door to face the crowds at Safeway, Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. I’m fresh out of holiday good cheer and everything else.
Perhaps you’re not put off by the military tempo of the canned Muzak and the hordes of hassled moms and dads out buying enough food for an army. But I find it more intimidating and offensive every year.
This post is about facing up to feasting…climbing the mountains of fresh produce to just waiting to be peeled and chopped, the poundage of meat waiting to be sacrificed…to find a better way to start The Day Before Thanksgiving.
Chicken Hearted, That’s How I Started
I remember watching in wonder as my mother cooked a twenty plus pound bird for her brood. I was so ham fisted when I started out and I longed for her skills with saucepan and skillet.
My early Thanksgiving meals were not bountiful or graceful. We lived overseas where canned cranberries, sweet potatoes, pecans and pumpkin are rare, not to mention crispy onion rings for the green bean casserole.
My guys ate whatever I could cook from scratch with loads of substitute ingredients. It made me more creative and confident as a cook.
But I admit that some years we took the easy way out and opted for the Thanksgiving Buffet at the nearest international business hotel.
Now I’m an old hand. I’ve been roasting, basting, stirring and baking for more than twenty-five years and I have to say the thrill is gone. My glorious LaCornue range, Passepartout, stands in readiness for the impending storm of cooking, but my mojo is missing.
How to Harvest Your Abundance
I’m a pro when it comes to “making and list and checking it twice” to get dinner on the table. But now around our house it’s just The Brit, a good provider who would rather eat out, and me.
Our appetite for hearty fare is undeserved; our waistlines are more expansive than ever. I found myself wanting to be generous and giving, just not with wasteful amounts of food for us.
I stared at the condiments in the door looking for something remotely appealing or at least edible. How long had it been since I cleaned out this mess? The pantry shelves weren’t looking much better.
So I procrastinated over a second cup of coffee. I decided to pay bills, anything to avoid going shopping.
The checkbook was open and my gel pen was flowing, so I spent an hour contemplating the contents of my “Charities” folder and making the donations I’d been meaning to get to when I “found a quiet moment.”
It was the best sixty minutes that I’ll spend this holiday season. Spreading good cheer this way thawed my inner Scrooge and fortified me for the weeks ahead.
There are so many worthwhile organizations. Three of the checks I never mind writing at this time of year are for food and hospitality to:
It’s a good idea to check the integrity of the organizations before you give. You can check out your own special causes at The Charity Navigator.
Your cash donations will fill your heart and satisfy your stomach. No vegetable peelers, measuring cups or meat thermometers required.
Holiday Means Holy Day
Consider making this your new family tradition…a way to give thanks on the morning before the most American of holidays…a welcome pause before the onslaught of over-eating.
You’ll feel lighter in spirit and less starved for the sense of purpose and connection that we all crave.
And then, if you’re really fearless, you can join the mobs of holiday shoppers to mix it up at the mall on Black Friday!
How do you put the HAPPY in your HOLIDAYS? Share your tips for new traditions for midlife.