South San Francisco, CA November 23, 2016
They say home is where the heart is as many head out on this Thanksgiving weekend to be with family and friends. Or could it be yours is the home, the center, where your family and friends will congregate tomorrow. Many are busy getting ready for big dinners, anticipating full and happy tummies come tomorrow night.
Yet there is an undercurrent of concern festering in many homes as a result of the 2016 elections. We see some families polarized in the midst of candidates and issues, and a deep fatigue over the long battle of this past campaigning season. Many have drawn the line in the sand refusing to see other points of view, determined to hold fast to their beliefs, cutting others from their lives when sides do not agree.
It is at times such as this we must remember we all hold so much more in common than the believes that may separate other points of view. And it is those things, what we share with each other, that can pull us through these tough times. And so it is with our family and friends, those we’ve established life time ties, that we share our thankfulness for this connection.
To help alleviate possible tensions, it’s good to have a go to list of ideas to help side step friction and support what we do hold in common. This is a time of thanksgiving and many family traditions that bind us together will be called upon to do double duty this year.
And that is a good place to start. Talk about how your family traditions got their start. Was it Tia Eva that started tamales as the main course instead of turkey a decade ago? Remember the year cousin Colleen traveled across the country, one mishap after another only to finally show up with two strangers she met who are now a permanent part of Thanksgiving? How about the year Uncle Bob, out throwing the football showing off to the younger kids that he still had it, that started the annual family turkey toss? Every family has stories. What are yours? Jot a few down to have at the ready when needed, as a reminder of what unites you as family.
Start new traditions. Have everyone write down what they are thankful for, or go around the table allowing each person the quiet and respect to speak of their gratefulness. Have adults help the kids make hand turkeys on paper, decorate and use with place settings. Start a treasure hunt. Create a competition of some sort; how fast can you say a rhyme without messing up, dribble the basketball, stand on one foot – even the simplest of things can be tension breakers and redirect conversations. And start new traditions.
You can also make it known at the onset, there will be no politics this year. Practice a few lines of reminders so they are ready on your tongue when needed. ‘Ah, this year politics is off subject’ might be all you need. Enlist a few other family members or friends to help you keep things on track. Divert the subject by injecting a new one: our pets always provide safe and fun fodder of thought, as does sports, celebrities, even the weather can be a quick saver of going off track. Know it is OK to take a breather, to walk outside for a bit to catch your bearings when feeling overwhelmed. Drink more water than alcohol, keep a water pitcher on the table to encourage others to likewise.
Whatever you do, as the hostess or guest, keep in mind we really do have so much more in common, and for that we are truly thankful.
Everything South City wishes you and yours a very happy and healthy holiday season, we remain thankful for our incredible community, online and in real life. Stay blessed.