In this week’s Wednesday 5, we share with you some of the best Thanksgiving stories and survival tips offered by members of our own Women’s Voices family. We didn’t have to look far for advice from women in many different stages of life who’ve chosen to spend their Thanksgivings in non-traditional ways.

If you’re single and dating, Eleanore Wells has the 101 on how to tackle questions like “Where are you having Thanksgiving dinner? Are we having it together?” If you are divorced, Roz Warren has carved out the blueprint for the “Divorced Persons’ Thanksgiving.” If you have decided to send the family off and take a much-needed sabbatical from the holiday, Dr. Patricia Yarberry Allen discusses how to use the time for introspection. If you are not in the United States and wondering how to honor the day, Rev. Dr. Sandra McCann poignantly shares what “Thanksgiving in Tanzania” means. And, if you and your partner are bracing an empty nest, Dr. Cecilia Ford offers some soothing advice on how to reinvent Thanksgiving so that there is still much joy at a table for two.

 

1.

Eleanore Wells: What to Do About “Him” at Thanksgiving?

If you are a married woman, you have Thanksgiving dinner with your husband. It might be somewhere you’re excited to be, it might be somewhere you’re not excited to be, but wherever it is, you’re there with your husband. If you’re single-and-dating, a conversation often has to be had: Where are you having Thanksgiving dinner? Are we having it together?

 

2.

Roz Warren: Divorced Persons’ Thanksgiving

We dubbed it  “Divorced Persons’ Thanksgiving.” It sure wasn’t traditional. It wasn’t a large family group, just the two of us. And it wasn’t a feast. Both of us are light eaters by nature, and mediocre cooks. The last thing either of us wanted was to spend the day in the kitchen. We did want to acknowledge the holiday, but neither of us liked turkey enough to want to actually cook one.

 

3.

Dr. Patricia Yarberry Allen: A Day of Introspection and Gratitude

I most miss being in Kentucky today.  Everyone from my family will be home but me. The phone call to my sister was the hard one. But no one has siblings like mine. We accept and love each other and always believe that what we say to each other is the truth.  So, when I said I needed a holiday off the grid, she understood.

 

4.

Rev. Dr. Sandra McCann: Thanksgiving in Tanzania

“In Tanzania they don’t have a national Thanksgiving holiday,” says Sandra McCann, radiologist and Episcopal priest. “But every day is Thanksgiving there. Every single prayer starts with ‘Thank you, Baba.’ Each prayer starts with a litany of thanksgiving. When I first arrived in 2004, I found this annoying, especially in our small pastoral groups that meet only one time a week for 20 minutes.  I would say, ‘Do you have any prayer requests?’—and  before they could make the request, each one would have to go through the thanksgiving litany. “But I’ve come to understand this and appreciate Thanksgiving on a deep level, because the most common prayer I hear is, ‘Thank you, Father, for protecting me through the night.’

 

5.

Dr. Cecilia Ford: Dreading a Lonely Thanksgiving

Your best bet is to try to “reframe” how you see the upcoming week and change your expectations by avoiding the twin evils of imagining “what others are doing” and remembering “how things used to be.” Try to approach this Thanksgiving as an opportunity to celebrate in a new way. For example, some people, when separated from family, enjoy inviting other friends in this position. Others find it a good day to take advantage of the peace and quiet and go to the movies—sometimes several in a row. Many people have found great satisfaction in volunteering in soup kitchens.

 

 

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  • Roz Warren November 26, 2014 at 9:33 am

    Update! I wrote Divorced Person’s Thanksgiving in 2012. Just in case you’re wondering, two years later, the tradition still holds. Mark and I look forward to a quiet, peaceful holiday. And Captain is looking forward to his annual taste of poultry.

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