Truthfully, I don’t care much for Thanksgiving.
I never have. I don’t know why but Thanksgiving is a holiday that has never really felt festive to me. There’s this big stereotype of Thanksgiving that has never been a reality for me.
When people picture Thanksgiving, they see a big glamorous table full of fine china & glasses. Everything is decorated in auburns & oranges, browns & golds. There is a mile long of gourmet food to surround the big bird in middle. Everything is just so extravagant.
But, its never been like that for me. Thanksgiving has always just been so simple. Last year I learned a really big lesson on Thanksgiving day — simple is all that matters.
This time last year, I was still living in Phoenix, Arizona. I hated living in Phoenix for the most part but the last final months that I had spent there were horrible. I was so over it & ready to go back home to California. Unfortunately I was super broke at the time so I couldn’t afford to go home for Thanksgiving. That meant that I would be spending the holiday alone.
I usually am more than okay with doing things by myself. I don’t fear being alone. So I didn’t think much of the day & decided that I would just keep myself busy.
On Thanksgiving morning I woke up to hot, ugly 80 degree weather in November. I don’t know why I would expect anything different in Phoenix though. I put on my favorite pair of Zara boyfriend jeans, a Star Wars crop top, white chucks, & a the darkest shade of purple lipstick I had. I figured that my dark lipstick would help keep people from talking to me.
I leave my empty college campus & head to downtown to serve Thanksgiving lunch to Phoenix’s homeless community at the convention center. For those of you that are unfamiliar with Phoenix, their homeless community is huge. So huge, that we had served over 3,000 Thanksgiving meals that day.
I walk in the doors & this girl hands me a meal ticket as if I’m homeless — COOL. Anyways, I hand her back the ticket embarrassed & explain that I’m not homeless. I walk over to the volunteer table, get registered & head back to the kitchen.
As I walk back to the kitchen I take a good look at what’s going on around me. There are a ton of tables & people patiently waiting in line. I notice there are a lot of children as well & activities to occupy them. It broke my heart to see so many but it was also kind of nice to know that so many hungry children would be fed that day.
When I get to the kitchen I’m given an apron, gloves, & a super cute hairnet. Then in assembly line order we all work together to pass the plates & serve the food. I was proudly in charge of the green beans.
Being busy felt good, I was happy to be around other human interaction. Everyone put off such a good vibe even though they didn’t say much to me like I had expected. Regardless it was such a warm moment, not a hint of bitter in my blood.
Unfortunately, it went by very fast. There was a lot of volunteers which made the whole process very efficient. We were done probably in about an hour or so. Once time was up that meant it was time for me to go back to my apartment alone. I really didn’t want to so I was trying to see if there was anything else I could do. I swear I was more than ready to wash all 3,000 of those plates if it meant that I could stay longer. But there was already people assigned to that task so I was out of luck. I was kicked out & forced to go back home.
When I got outside I called my mom & talked to her for bit. I even managed to call the remains of my deadbeat dad just to convince myself that this wasn’t that bad.
However, it didn’t make me feel any better. Especially talking to my mom. That’s when I had finally accepted the fact that I was not okay with being by myself for the holiday.
In that moment, I wanted nothing more than to be at home with my family. I didn’t want the big obnoxious, ornate Thanksgiving feast. I just wanted to be with my family.
I know that Thanksgiving has never been about the feast. However sometimes we get so lost in all the fuss. We focus on how we can make it the best or how we can make ideal become reality. We lose sight of what it really means & we lose sight of how simple it all is.
This Thanksgiving I had never felt more thankful for the simple Thanksgiving I’ve always been used to. The simple food, simple plates, simple outfits, & simple location — I loved every bit of it because every bit of it simply included my family.
They say you don’t realize what you have until it’s gone & I can’t stress that enough. Simple or extravagant — be thankful. Be thankful for what you have & as you have it. For every little moment is a blessing or a lesson. Good or bad, live in the moment & be thankful that it is yours for these are the moments that make you, you.
H A P P Y T H A N K S G I V I N G ♡