Number one on my thankful list is always my family. I know how lucky I am to have both my parents still living and in good health. I have six brothers and sisters that I love to spend time with and get to see more often than most. I am lucky in so many ways. I am employed by a company who stays closed on Thanksgiving, I own a beautiful home, and I have such amazing friends in several different circles of my life. So what am I doing to celebrate all of these blessings on Thanksgiving? Sitting home alone.
Don’t cry for me, Argentina. This situation is totally by choice. I am a proud singleton. I have loved the concept since the very first Bridget Jones book, long before anyone ever heard Renee Zellweger say it. Don’t get me wrong, I am still waiting for mister right, that chance to connect with someone in a meaningful way and to share my crazy life, but in the meantime, I am embracing that single life.
I was not always this zen. In the 90’s I was the typical 30 something, waiting for my life to start after I found ‘the guy’ and settled down. I spent more holidays than I care to admit secretly resentful of my siblings and their spouses, having Christmas presents and Valentines and someone to kiss on New Year’s Eve. Holidays are fun with the Horans (isn’t everything a little more fun with us?) but there was always a little bit of sadness. Add to that the retail life I have been embroiled in since 1995, and I was exhausting myself with all the merriment.
I started a couple of holiday traditions that feed my soul and make me feel festive. I started taking the boys on Christmas Eve eve so their parents could prepare for the holiday and I could get some cuddle time around the Christmas tree.
For my family stocking stuffers I would thoughtfully pick magazines for each individual family member (no easy feat with 15 to 18 to choose for.) I would purchase a new Christmas CD and DVD to add to my collection every season. I would buy a new pair of pajamas to wake up in Christmas morning.
The paradigm shift came in 2004, after my grandmother died. I had some money set aside and decided that I would spend Christmas pampering myself in a fancy hotel room. I booked a luxurious suite at the Doubletree Hotel for Christmas. I loaded a cooler with brushetta and goodies from the olive bar at Wegmans, wine, candles, and a bag with books and magazines and went straight from work after we closed the doors at 6 at Barnes & Noble.
I spent the evening watching movies, reading magazines that had piled up, ordering room service (including creme brulee) and just chilling. Then Christmas morning I woke up in my new pajamas and then started the relaxing all over again! I did call my family at their gathering and got my fill of family loving…all from the comfort of my suite. Another night of sleeping in luxurious hotel sheets and I woke up the next morning feeling so refreshed. Then my boys came to visit me and we went swimming in the hotel pool.
Ever since that holiday, my family doesn’t worry about me being alone or beg me to come and spend the holidays with their families and in laws. They understand that the best way I can be grateful for all I have is to let me spend the time alone refueling.
There have been so many fun thanksgivings that I am grateful for in my life. My friends Jen and Kevin have taken me in for several Thanksgivings in Ossining, New York (and they even indulged me that first time in their hometown when I wanted to see the prison I had read about all my life, you know, the ‘big house’ which is ‘up the river’.) I have spent more than one holiday with Patty and her family in Queens (where I learned how to parallel park only because I absolutely had to) and then there was the Thanksgiving I made Cornish game hens with all the fixings with my friend Sahar. Add to this the many times I have had turkey with my family, and I am one lucky girl. These days my perfect Thanksgiving is staying home and watching holiday movies all day long. Today was another one of those perfect days. Here’s hoping that you have just as many things to be grateful for in your lives. Peace.