A recent article in Condé Nast Traveler, entitled "The Case for Getting Rid of the Holiday Travel Calendar," certainly gave me food for thought. The author basically takes the opportunity to advocate for our being creative and flexible and pragmatic around the planning of pandemic family holiday get-togethers. The actual day--or even the month or season--of Thanksgiving or Christmas isn't as important, author Noah Kaufman asserts, as our commitment to get together when it is most safe and practical.
I get it. Makes sense to me.
Our family has done our absolute best to keep each other safe and sane during this crazy year. One son is currently away, having a safe (and shortened) college semester; the other three of us are here together in The Brogue, working daily to achieve a balance between care and normalcy. We keep in touch with the rest of our extended family through weekly Zooms, texts, and emails. As the year-end holidays approach, we certainly all understand that it will be the spirit of the season which matters, more than the ability to all hold hands around a feast table.
This weekend, we had the wonderful opportunity to put this flexible celebration model into practice. My beloved father, who used to live here on the winery "estate" with us in The Brogue, came and spent a wonderful (and carefully socially-distant) time with us here, taking advantage of a beautiful harvest weekend. We ate together outside, shared pantomime hugs, and enjoyed happy hour together by the fire pit. It was really great to be together--a cause for true gratitude.
I'd known, as I planned for his visit, exactly what it would be: Thanksgiving. Yep, it's not November. Yep, the rest of the family couldn't join with us this time. But four of us would be carving out a special time for fellowship, and I can't think of a better name for that than "Thanksgiving."
It makes me think of the Grinch's epiphany moment, upon realizing that Christmas is more about the spirit of the thing: "It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags"...yep.
So we did it. I happily added the trappings and trimmings of the season, spending a happy day preparing traditional Thanksgiving foods (much to my dad's surprise and delight): the turkey, the stuffing. Potatoes and cranberry sauce.
What really mattered, though, was knowing that the most important part of the tradition had already been achieved: Wherever, however, whenever, we'd honored our time together with conscious gratitude. Amen.