Mental notes on not achieving the perfect Thanksgiving

Canadians are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend.  Yes, we do that and on a different day than our America brothers and sisters. That idea was found strange enough that the New York Times thought it reasonable to write an article about it.  While there certainly are differences in our occasions, the turkey is the glue that binds.  With that, we must have a game plan! And here it is!

Making merry in the good old turkey way is all about being prepared. I find having a strategy helps me get, both the trusted roast tom on the table, as well as enjoy my family.  And while I would like you to enjoy a perfect weekend, I caution you on getting too hung up on perfection.  I plan on making it work no matter what hiccups I may encounter, and there are a few.

TIP 1: Don’t get hung up on perfection.  Fussing about getting it perfect takes up valuable energy and may cause you to miss the important things, like your grandchild’s first steps.

Having just moved into my new little place, which is decidedly smaller than the old, I have yet to unpack everything (that includes my undies). However, those aren’t necessary for a Thanksgiving feast (not really).  What I do need is my cutlery and I have no idea where it is, nor do I know where my favourite white porcelain plates are.  I have exactly one wine glass and until yesterday, I had only 2 dining room chairs out of the 14, I needed.  The roasting pan finally emerged out of a box labelled “Boots and Shoes,” (huh??) but the lid is missing.  I could rummage through the 50 or so boxes resting comfortably in my basement, but I frankly don’t have the time.  Life is asking me to lean in in other ways.

TIP 2: Ask yourself, “What matters most?” Making connections is what counts.  Take the time to be fully present in this moment, now.

Today what mattered most is that a friend needed hugs, a pickup and a place to rest after surgery.  She is here with me, sleeping in my comfy bed (I am a bed snob - I do love a glorious bed).  I put a lovely, big bone broth on the stove, so she could have nourishing clean food for dinner.  I can smell it from my position on the patio while I write, in my tank top, on October 6th, in the glorious sunshine.  What a day!  

I am awaiting the arrival of the mattress and boxspring I need to complete the second bedroom.  I will be glued to the house for that frustratingly inaccurate waiting period of “somewhere between 9 am and 6 pm.”  Now how am I supposed to get everything done out there, when I am stuck in here waiting for a delivery??  And I must get it all done because I am babysitting Baby G tomorrow evening, while my daughter and her hubby go out for date night, something in which I heartily believe for new parents!

TIP 3: Make the most out of wait times.  While I am waiting, I plan to prepare some side dishes for the big feast, in advance.  Mashed potatoes are a perfect candidate and so is applesauce.  While I am at it, I will also make the apple crisp.  

It occurred to me, as the disarray of my life sat all about me in the form of half unpacked boxes and interrupted schedules, that while we do want a “perfect” giving thanks experience, rich with table settings, feasts and fun, what matters more is making memories.  Ultimately it is that moment when you are sitting at the table, elbow to elbow, with loved ones, sharing a joke and remembering That Time when …. these are the beautifully imperfect, perfect moments.  

TIP 4: Make memories, not perfection.  No one will remember the polished kitchen floor.  Everyone will remember how they felt in the warm embrace of your love as they sat around your dining room table.

I have burned many a mashed potato dish, broken many a wine glass and forgotten the apples for an apple pie dish, among the many mistakes I have made in my 57 years of Thanksgivings in Canada.  These don’t define me.  Remembering the moment when a wild turkey came pecking at my dining room window with 24 guests sitting down to our roast Thanksgiving turkey, still makes us erupt with laughter.  Can you imagine the irony of a turkey wanting to get into the house??  “Hello! Can I come in and join you all for dinner?”  Gobble, gobble.

This Thanksgiving, make the rough edges of life work for you. Accept and be grateful that you are here, on this earth, healthy and present. Be grateful, as I am, that we have peace and freedom, that we can feed our families and glow in the luxury of love.  

TIP 5: Accept the imperfections of life as opportunities to grow.  Perfection is more illusion than a goal.  Balance in life, perfect or not, is what counts.

Happy Thanksgiving to Canadians everywhere!

Hugs and love,


PS.  Let us give thanks also for our American brothers and sister, for their courage in the face of Hurricane Matthew.  Sending love, light, and safety to my friends in the United States.