Why I’ve taken advantage of stores being open on Thanksgiving (don’t shoot me until you read this)

Not all holidays are created equally but all holidays are really difficult for some.

For many years I didn’t like the holidays.  Me.  The lover of love, joy and friendship!

It started when my mom died.  Then, I got divorced and had to split the holidays – that made it even worse.  Even the relationship I was in, left me alone on the holidays.  I became the skinny, brown-haired Grinch in running shoes!

One day when I was out with some friends I heard someone complaining about her Thanksgiving.  How her aunt complained that she didn’t make sweet potatoes the “family” way.  How her kids were wild – running around from a sugar high.  And how just once she wanted to have the day to herself.  I almost opened my mouth, but didn’t.

Nothing’s perfect.  She had everything I was looking for on the holiday but was unhappy with the day.  I had what she wanted and I was unhappy.

The next year I decided to enjoy whatever I was fortunate to experience.  I asked my dad to meet me for Chinese food and a movie.  We really enjoyed our time and it’s since become a tradition!

That was also the first year some stores were open late on Thanksgiving evening.  Actually I think it was only Walmart.  So, after I dropped my dad off, I drove across town rather than go home to a dark house.  I didn’t go to buy anything – just to avoid going home.

I met her in the toy department. She looked horrible.  Face all red as if she’d been crying.  I walked up, smiled and said, “Happy Thanksgiving.”  She looked at me and started to cry.  I knew.  I totally knew.  Her kids were gone and she was missing them so much.  She felt lost and broken.  I hugged her, told her I was 5 years post that point and that there’s light on the other side.  She told me how coming to Walmart and wandering around the store was her saving grace.  I had to agree and I spent the next hour with her.

I don’t like people having to work on a holiday. But we all have different lives. There are people with no food or place to live.  There are people who are separated from family they love or with family they don’t love. There are those who struggle with the food or alcohol or drugs.

There’s so much pressure to make it perfect and there’s no way it can be perfect.

So, today – the beginning of the “holiday” season, let’s try to lower our expectations about perfection.  In fact, maybe if we enjoyed the imperfections – it might seem a bit more perfect.

It’s easy to judge our families, ourselves and others.  Instead try to just live in the moment – as imperfect as it’s bound to be.  And remember, this should be a season about helping others and being thankful for what we have – not what we wish it was.

Have an amazing day!



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