It’s Thanksgiving Eve. My favorite holiday of the season.
All of the mess and preparation and silliness.
None of the formality or rushing around or pressure from “day of” expectations.
Plus… there’s sugar crustos made from discarded pie crust. #delicious
On Thanksgiving Eve, my family gathers to break stuffing bread into heaping piles that smell amazing.
Pie crusts are rolled out and Grandma’s expert hands teach little fingers to curl the edges in an adorable, albeit uneven, pattern.
Thanksgiving Eve is a gift.
It’s the PERFECT time to set your expectations for the holiday.
As you do, remember this truth: the most reliable predictor of how a family will behave is how they have behaved.
I’m not saying there’s no possibility of change. There is.
It’s also true that human brains are efficient little things and in times of high stimuli (ahem – giant, elaborate family dinners), they tend to revert back to what they’ve always done.
Because brains like safety and “familiar” = “safe”.
So expect that your husband is going to ignore everyone for half the day while he meticulously overattends to the turkey in the smoker outside.
Then after dinner, expect him to crash on the couch and not really talk to your dad.
Know that he’ll probably roll his eyes when you ask him to make paper turkeys with the kids.
For better or worse, he’s probably gonna do what he’s always done.
You have the option to plan on it. And let it be okay.
Shrug. Or laugh.
You also have the option to ask him to do something different.
You can do so from a place of love for him and for you.
The reason you’ll be able to make the request from a place of love and not frustration is that you aren’t frustrated.
You expected that he’d do what he’s doing (of course he did) AND you get why he is (efficient, familiar brain pathways – remember?)
The point is, on Thanksgiving Eve, you have the opportunity to decide how you want YOUR Thanksgiving to go.
Expect that everything will happen how it usually does.
Decide to be amused.
Choose the requests you’d like to make.
Let the rest slide.
Laugh if you want to.
Consider the option to pat yourself on the back for knowing your family so well.
And if you get it wrong… well – so fun to have a pleasant surprise, right?
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.