Giving Thanks • New Tricks
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happy thanksgiving

I have a big and crazy family.  Several weeks ago we heard the news that my 52-year-old brother, an artist and the youngest of the siblings with six older sisters, is getting married for the first time, on Thanksgiving day. All of us are very excited about going to Pensacola, Florida to see Charlie and his girlfriend Nikki tie the knot.

While making plans for the trip, I talked to one of my sisters who told me she has been seriously depressed since the election.  I knew she had been pretty caught up in the election beforehand, but like many people she has been having a harder time dealing with the outcome. Between  our big family and Nikki’s  I am sure that there will be people on both sides of the election issue and that has the potential to be difficult. Since our family is probably not unlike yours I know we are not the only ones to be dealing with conflicting feelings. So I decided to share my thoughts on ways we can get through the holidays with grace. 

Of course, this was an election unlike any other in our lifetime.  Those of us whose candidate did not win it  have been on an emotional rollercoaster caused by thoughts of what might happen in the future given the results. And if the outcome had been different, we know that people on the other side would have been as upset and outraged if their candidate hadn’t won.

What can we do with our extended families and friends over the holiday ?

  • Take a breath. Be kind. It doesn’t work to gloat and it doesn’t work to vilify others about their choices.
  • Get up and take action for a cause you believe in. Volunteering for a local cause or people in your community might be more empowering because you get to see and feel the difference you have made right then, rather than have it be more abstract. Passively ruminating about what could’ve or should’ve happened, or what might happen in the future will leave you feeling more overwhelmed, powerless, and depressed.
  • Turn off your TV, get off Facebook and stop obsessively following the news.  Being constantly plugged will keep you reactive and upset.
  • Don’t let your political ideology cause you to go wild with assumptions about what someone else’s choice in this election means about their ideas. The truth is most people are just afraid and they do what they do and think what they think and it doesn’t mean what you might think it means.
  • Take this opportunity to spend this precious time with family and or friends and tell them that you love them.

I am looking forward to going to Florida and being with my family. It hasn’t always been easy and this year might bring additional opportunities to step on landmines. But I do have a choice about what I do and how I react so I am making a commitment to have everyone win this Thanksgiving/Wedding day.

Knight Family




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  • Leanne Fournier

    Great and timely post Judi and I love that you used the word “grace”. Sometimes that’s all we can hope for in ourselves and others. I wasn’t even really aware that family gatherings like this can be so filled with strife and high emotions but ran into it headfirst at our Thanksgiving gathering here in Canada. I apologized afterward but the family member used it as an opportunity to attack and belittle me even bringing up past behaviour when it is hers that has unsettled the family for years. I know that’s where I was coming from in my “attack” (I’d had enough) but its still not acceptable in such gatherings. I will use your words of wisdom in the future for sure!

  • Leda

    Wait, Judi, did you forget to write this week? All I see is an image of some most joyful children!

    Happy Thanksgiving ?

  • Carol Sue Young

    Happy Thanksgiving Judi and family! I love seeing old pics of your family growing up. You being the oldest must bring its joys and challenges thru time. Have a great holiday!

  • Jackie Sherman

    Nice post! Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Jane

    Wonderful post! Great and balanced advice. Easy to pick you out of the sibling lineup, even without knowing you’re the oldest! Have a wonderful event!

  • Diana Simon

    Love the pic. Glad to know ‘some’ of your family. Be festive.

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