Don't believe the hype. Every year we fall for it and every year something crops up to ruin the fantasy. It's chillier, the temperature is plummeting and the hope, which springs eternal sometimes against our better judgement, that this year the holidays will be perfect almost to the point of healing everything that's gone before, grows once more.
But rather than indulge in said wistfulness and without crossing the line into bitterness or cynicism, there are some very real steps you can take to put yourself in a position of strength when it comes to celebrating Thanksgiving this year. The following are my Top Ten Techniques for truly enjoying the holiday and spending Friday at peace instead of on the phone apologizing or curled up in bed so depressed and angry you would practically rather be at work.
1 - Listen more than you speak. I know this sounds a bit Zen but, truth be told, it's easy for all of us to fall into the blabber mouth trap with our nearest and dearest, especially if its been awhile since we've all gotten together. A sweet conversation about Aunt Melanie can turn into a burning tirade about the money her husband still owes you in about thirty seconds. By all means, be yourself and let your guard down around your loved ones but keep the editor function on duty and enjoy what people are saying without always feeling the need to put in your two, or two thousand, cents.
2 - Limit alcohol. If possible, don't drink at all! Many of us are still delusional enough to believe that since it's "THE HOLIDAYS" we can drink as much as we want and still drive a car load of kids home. Think again. The roads are full of people thinking the very same thing so why risk it? Loving your friends and family sober is a great experience and could help with close relationships more than you realize. If you do indulge, limit it to two drinks and give youself time to digest and rest before traveling again. Also, too much alcohol will put that editor right to sleep and then there's just no telling who or what you will be spouting on about next.
3 - Use some of the day just to relax and reflect. If you are alone over Thanksgiving, it's all right.