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  • Writer's pictureChristina Kamins, MS

Filling Your Plate with Joy

This is not going to be a post about turkey or side dishes, not really. With Thanksgiving approaching, I love hearing about the different ways others celebrate. Whether you are carrying on meaningful traditions, carving a completely new path, or doing something in between, my hope is that you get to celebrate in a way that makes you feel both joy and gratitude.

This year my brother-in-law is hosting for the very first time. As the plans have been unfolding, it has caused me to really think about what truly matter and what I can easily take or leave. Tomorrow, for the first time in my life, there will be no Lenox dishes or fancy napkin rings adorning the table. He has requested that we all dress in sweats, freeing us from wearing impractical clothes that make it unpleasant to head outside and play football. As the menu has been coming together, his big question has been “What dishes make Thanksgiving feel like Thanksgiving?” for each of us. This is a far cry the “vegetarian-friendly” stuffing made with chicken broth that I’ve become accustomed to.

On recent calls, I have heard a number of wonderful Thanksgiving plans. One client is looking most forward to the annual gag gift exchange she does with her extended family. Another is serving a vegan dinner tomorrow because she wants all of her guests to feel fully included. Two different clients are running in a turkey trot to start their morning. As each person shared their special plans with me, whether they are trying something brand new or continuing with a long-standing tradition, they were focusing on a part of the holiday that will bring them joy. Just as we strategize to get the best enjoyment out of our meal (skip the mediocre mashed potatoes and store-bought pie to make space on the plate for our favorite dishes) reflecting on what matters most along with what we can easily let go of, we are able to create more space for joy. And with joy comes gratitude.

Tomorrow I am fully embracing a 5 AM wake up so my daughter can tap dance in the Philly parade. I'll be making the vegan cranberry fluff my kids love and I will certainly enjoy that along with a hearty serving of my mom’s broccoli casserole. Meanwhile, I will be passing on the stuffing and walking away from the table if a tense conversation topic comes up.

However you find yourself gathering, I hope you are able to embrace the parts of the holiday that make you smile and let go of all the rest. It makes the perfect recipe to a truly thankful Thanksgiving.

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