Please – someone tell me I’m not the only one who has a tendency to go a little over the top around the holidays. I find myself needing to pull off perfectly planned Pinterest holiday events. The only problem is that I live an imperfect un-Pinteresty life that’s filled with a lot of chaos and messes and sticky hands.
This year when I decided to host Thanksgiving at our house for both of our families I immediately felt that familiar rush of anxiety come on. I spent hours that night on Pinterest pinning center pieces and side dishes and crafts that I have no time, energy, or talent to actually make. I called my local natural food store and ordered an organic turkey, because…well, I thought serving an organic turkey would be impressive and memorable (note: before ordering an organic turkey I highly recommend asking the price of said turkey. I almost fell to the ground when I picked up my bird and learned it would be $68 to take him home with me. Not at all a memorable or impressive experience).
After the turkey incident I sat down and really tried to re-evaluate where I was spending my energy. We recently lost my 91 year old grandmother and I imagined trying to explain modern social media to her: “Well you see Grandma, we spend a lot of time on Pinterest pinning things to make or wear or do – but then we get too busy to ever make or wear or do them. Then we go to Instagram and stumble on carefully curated images of other women making or wearing or doing cool things and we feel inadequate for not making or wearing or doing cool things. So then we go to Facebook and read a variety of political opinions from our friends, many of whom are people from high school that we haven’t seen or spoken to in 20 years. We get frustrated with the politics on Facebook so then we go back to Pinterest to pin more things to make or wear or do because we forgot that we don’t have time to make or wear or do things.
Wow – what an exhausting way to spend time and energy. I really had to stop and ask myself: Am I looking to host an over the top perfect holiday because that’s truly what I love doing – or because I want to take a picture of it to share on Instagram?
I thought a lot about what Thanksgiving looked like for most of my Grandmother’s life and it came down to a very un-Pinterest experience focused on food and family. There were no centerpieces, no expensive china, and I can guarantee no one took a picture of the turkey. Plates and silverware were mismatched. Serving dishes and platters were old and likely found for a bargain at a garage sale. No one looked at their phone and no one left hungry.
As I prepare to cook the ridiculously expensive turkey that I bought for a picture-perfect holiday, I’m downshifting into a day that’s less Pinterest holiday worthy and more Grandma-approved. We will dine on paper plates and drink from red solo cups. I will serve pre-made pies and my kids probably won’t eat anything other than bread and desert. I will make minimal effort to pickup my house – because if you’re invited to be at my table you already know me well enough to know my house isn’t clean most days. The organic turkey will be stuffed with the non organic stuffing that my grandma always made with turkey giblets and the wine will be whatever is on sale. There will be nothing worth noting on social media…but that’s ok, because while our family is all together I won’t look at my phone. And, just like my Grandmother did, I will do my best to ensure no one leaves hungry.
Cheers to lowering expectations and enjoying a simpler holiday. How about you – is yours a Pinterest holiday that’s totally swoon-worthy or will you be swilling cheap white wine out of red solo cups like me? We would love to hear your approach to Thanksgiving.