For many people, this simply isn't their reality. Or if it is, it certainly isn't the experience depicted in the famous Norman Rockwell painting.
For many folks, especially those in the LGBTQ community, the holidays are a time when they gather a family of intention around them--because they aren't welcome at "home" due to their sexual or gender orientation or because of the way they live their lives. Political, religious and lifestyle habits can make family gatherings difficult at best, so many folks choose to avoid the situation entirely, and the discomfort that can come with it. Endless years of being singled-out as the lone vegetarian at the table (despite the fact that the only thing I wasn't eating was the turkey, itself) or chastised because I was the lone liberal-minded queer convinced me that making the long trek home wasn't worth the hassle. Forget about asking if the turkey was grass-fed and organic.
Then there are folks who can't afford to fly long-distances several times in a couple of months to celebrate the holidays with their loved ones or aren't able to for job-related reasons. Where are those folks supposed to go? What are folks to do when faced with the reality of an orphan holiday?
JOIN FORCES, OF COURSE!
This Thanksgiving, I found myself seated around a table enjoying one of the best meals I've ever eaten. Why? Because it was food that I felt 100% good about and I was sharing it with people I felt 100% comfortable to be around. My partner and I shopped for ingredients that were either locally-sourced or organic (ok, except for the marshmallows) and we prepared meals based on these values. We knew our guests share our intentionality when it comes to food (and most other things), so we prepared ourselves for their incredible contributions!
Canned cranberry sauce (jellied?) that is about 76% sugar? Why not spread cranberry jelly on your turkey?
Stuffing made with bread that only makes you feel stuffed from all the wheat flour halfway through your meal? No thanks. We made ours with quinoa, mushrooms, diced apricots, apples and herbs!
What about greens? How many American households had a homemade green salad made with shredded Brussels sprouts and red kale? Not too many, we're pretty sure. ;)
And our friends. We invited some hetero folks who recently moved to Boston and weren't able to fly to the Midwest for the holidays this year. What a bummer! Imagine moving to a new city and having no one to chill with for Thanksgiving?! No way! We scooped up those pals as well as another friend who wasn't flying to the West coast for the holiday and we all successfully made our way through 6 bottles of wine.
Talk about holiday cheer!
If we said it once, we said it 1,000 times---"this is the best Thanksgiving I've ever had--the food is so good for us, tastes amazing, and you can't beat the company". It was unanimous. We were truly so very grateful to be fed by a dinner of natural foods and surrounded by kindred company and conversation.
We felt blessed and grateful that we broke the mold and created a very special Thanksgiving--with a new family of intention.
PS if you want any of these recipes--hit me up! You can rock out next year! ;)