Why Is Thanksgiving Stressful?

It’s all about family. For those who don’t have family, it could feel lonely or isolating. And for those getting together with family, it often involves travel during crowded times…packing, rushing to airports, dealing with delayed flights or crowded roads and foods that might not agree with you.

But, more importantly, why is being with family sometimes uncomfortable? This is what I understand about family holidays.  We are going back into the nuclear family that operated a particular way when we were young, but we grew up, moved away and made different choices in our lives whether it is a political affiliation or set of ideals. When we go back there is the assumption that we are going back to the unit of our youth when we hadn’t yet formulated our vision for ourselves or made mistakes that created the life path that we took. We can’t go back to that unit, but where does that leave us?

One way to think about it is to get together with generosity and curiosity about their lives.  Learn about what has been important to them. Share as much as you want about yourself, but don’t assume that that you all think alike anymore. Growing up has made that impossible. Be as authentic as possible and stay true to your spirit.  Take good care of yourself as you reunite and make new memories, and maybe feel an appreciation for our ancestors. Whatever happens, it will be food for thought as you continue to grow and change.

2 Responses to “Why Is Thanksgiving Stressful?”

  1. Barbara

    Ellie, these words are wonderful. Underneath all the stress people feel, are emotions and feelings. Honoring your own at the same time as another will create new memories of love. <3

  2. Anne Sweeney

    Ellie, this is so beautifully expressed. I think it also explains why it is often easier for us to have less stressful holidays with people that we don’t have a history with. We can accept them just as they are, on that particular day, and they can do the same for us. I think you’ve gotten it exactly right when you suggest that we “get together with generosity and curiosity about their lives.” Let’s forget our memory of each other as 12-yr olds, or 20-yr olds or 48-yr olds, and allow ourselves to “meet each other anew”. Thank you for a lovely posting. Happy Thanksgiving!! xoxo


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