Planning Ahead


Finally. The election is behind us (sort of), and I’m ready to turn my thoughts to the holidays. Aren’t you?

I have moved into festive mode as I research recipes, schedule gatherings, and turn my thoughts toward the positive. I’m also planning for success: I have a new oven, so I bought a turkey this weekend for a trial run. My motto is: The best surprise is no surprise (aka a dry turkey) on Thanksgiving Day. Although there’s no guarantee, even with the proper amount of practice, that my turkey would be awarded a five-point Zagat rating, I do know that thinking ahead and putting a little effort into the final product should help.

As you think about the upcoming holidays, what are you planning beyond the menu? A gathering of friends and family that resembles a Norman Rockwell painting? Or are you preparing for something more akin to Westley and Inigo’s sword fight in The Princess Bride?

Some family dynamics can make our last election cycle look like a love fest. History of past wrongs that have gone unforgiven, sarcastic remarks thrown like darts, and passive-aggressive behavior are often, sadly, seated in every-other-chair at the table. I recently visited with a friend who said she knew what to expect (and it wasn’t going to be pretty). I thought as I left her, defusing negativity is like defusing a time bomb with thirty seconds on the clock: Girlfriend, you better have a strategy.

As I envision a beautiful Thanksgiving celebration, the turkey—while important—is not the focal point. The centerpiece is every person who enters my door and how they’re made to feel. In a word, I want them to know they are treasured. But they won’t feel prized unless I get my head in the game long before the doorbell rings. My goal is to rustle up some humility—mine—in hopes of begetting civility. Civility—theirs—will, I hope, produce respect. And respect—extended to one another—just might render peace. And where there is peace and laughter and love, those sitting around my table will know they are cherished.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. –Matthew 6:21

This holiday season, cast in advance your vision for the outcome. Then put in place a plan that starts with you.

(I’ll let you know how things work out with the turkey.)