Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wifey Wednesday: Two Tips for a Smoother Thanksgiving

Today's post, like most everything going on today, is going to be rushed and crammed in somewhere between the last minute dashes to the grocery store and the pie baking. We can get very flustered by the added work of a special day. Among my friends we have a name for that harried, distracted, and near frantic pre-holiday mindset: Terrible Martha Syndrome. Yes, it's named for the Martha of the Gospels who has Jesus Himself for dinner, but gets distracted by the work of feeding His disciples and unthinkingly grouses to the Lord about all the trouble she's having to go through for Him (Luke 10:38-42). We do this all the time to our friends and family. Our troubled face and impatient manner communicates loud and clear, "Do you have any idea how much bother I have to go through for you people?"

I'd like to help you with what helps me in those Terrible Martha moments. In and amongst all the cares of the day, try to remember two things: laughter is the best medicine and this particular day will never come again. Enjoy the craziness as much as you can. Everybody in the country is going crazy. It isn't just you.


Laughter is the best medicine. Tears and laughter are the only two things you can do to relieve stress. Yelling and giving vent to negative emotions actually increase the emotion. (Please pardon me for not citing the studies today--I'll plug them in when I'm less harried!) Big feasts and extra people in the house at breakfast are fodder for either pure comedy or pure tragedy. Usually both! In any given moment of high emotion you can either laugh, grouse, or cry. Grousing won't help, crying will wreck your mascara, but laughing will make it better. Put your arm around that aggravating kid and give vent to the giggles. My husband often reminds me that he can forgive me much because I can make him laugh. If you can't manage a giggle, try a loving smile instead of a frown this weekend just once and see if it doesn't make the moment better.


This day will never come again. This may seem like a claxon call to stress out about making the day perfect, but it isn't. I'm actually reminding you that you will never have a chance to have Thanksgiving with a five year old again, so go ahead and let her top the pie. That crooked pie can be one of the best memories of your feast! Don't shoot for perfection, shoot for keeping any particular moment from being a bad memory of when mommy blew her cool.

Christ never told Martha not to do the work. Instead he chides her for her attitude about the work. "Martha, Martha, thou art anxious and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful" (Luke 10:41-42). Do the work, my friends. Just remember that the work is not the point. The meal is not the point. Your relationship with Him and with each of these precious people is the point. Enjoy them this day. The meal is merely the setting for all the jewels of your family to shine particularly prettily for a little while. Treasure them and remember to treasure those mishaps that are bound to happen. They are what your family will laugh about in years to come.

"Remember the year that daddy dropped the turkey?" can be said in a hushed secretive whisper of remembered awe or it can be said with a ring of remembered laughter as a reminder of the ridiculous that lurks behind every great endeavor. Let the ridiculousness of the day be a source of laughter and not of shame and have a great holiday this year. Even if it comes off as mediocre, it's your unique version of mediocre and therefore a family treasure!

In moments like this you can laugh or cry.  Or both!


  1. Thank you for wonderful post and reminder! I'm actually going to apply your thoughts to memories of my recent wedding day. While the day went really well and my husband and I are overjoyed at being married, in hindsight there are a few things that didn't go quite as planned. I've been struggling not to focus on the less than perfect memories and remember them fondly instead. Your post gave me some new ways to think about those memories! Thank you!

    1. I'm so glad you found it helpful! Thank you for coming by to read it, too!