What You Can Bring


Oh . . . Thanksgiving! It’s one of my favorite holidays! Whether I host our friends and family for the feast or come as a guest, the question that is either posed to me or I ask (of our daughter who will be hosting this year) is: “What can I bring?” Our typical answer is, “Whatever you want.”

Thanksgiving, like most holidays, is often burdened by expectations. Something as small and seemingly insignificant as a specific dish, can leave some “wanting” on the day of plenty. Let’s face it. It’s just not Thanksgiving for a subset of our population if there’s not a green bean casserole or a dish of marsh mellowed yams on the table! Really? Will their Thanksgiving world actually crash and burn without them? Unfortunately, it might. Expectations based on tradition are important to many which is why I’m open to the dish de jour on this important day.

However, there are a few things we all do need to pull off the perfect day of gratitude and fellowship. If you’re hosting this year, I made a list for you. Please feel free to forward this to the fam:

Mom, you can bring a non-judgmental spirit. Prepare yourself now that the dressing might be dry or the bird not cooked to perfection. Be grateful that you didn’t have to work a 50-hour work week, wrangle three kids and manage to get all fourteen side dishes on the table piping hot.

Dad, you can bring a measure of empathy and a pound of patience. I warn you now that the kids will be loud, excited and will likely eat the turkey (or something) with their hands. No, their table manners are not ideal (though we try). Rather than be frustrated, I hope you will be grateful that all six of your precious grandchildren are healthy, courageous and some of the kindest human beings on earth.

Bro, you can bring topics for conversation that are edifying. Whether our guests are pro Trump or against him, I really don’t care; the President does not get a seat at our Thanksgiving table. I would be so grateful if you’d help steer our conversation to happy family memories, the Dallas Cowboys, or what’s on sale at Amazon—anything instead of politics.

Sis, I could really use your grace for the snarky comment I made to you last week and will ask in advance for your forgiveness for seating you next to our obnoxious Uncle Joe. I’ve seated you there because it is your sweet attitude and good humor that keeps the man from going off the rails.

For the rest of our friends and family, I hope you will bring recognition that we’re all blessed beyond measure to just be sitting in the company of those we love and who love us. Let’s not allow ourselves to become immune to the tragedies that we’ve watched play out in the news this year; there will be a lot of empty chairs around family tables across the country this Thanksgiving.

What can you bring? Maybe some peace. A little joy. And a whole lot of love.

Everything else, I think I have covered.