By Greg Payne
Thanksgiving just may be the ultimate team sport. Now, if you think I’m going to reference all the great football games that are going on over the holiday you’re wrong (Go Steelers). No, I mean that all it takes is a stroll through any grocery store, and you notice the canned milk, the pecans, and the pumpkin on sale. People don’t go to all the trouble of breaking out old family recipes, or trying out new ones if it’s only for themselves. Nearly everyone is planning on celebrating the holiday with other people. From the very first Thanksgiving to last years near debacle at my sister’s house, Thanksgiving has always depended on groups cooperating with each other. Throughout history we have always. . .
Wait. . .What’s that?
Oh, well then, for those of you who aren’t up on your history I will go into the story of Thanksgiving 2011 (cue creepy music – dum dum dum). It all started with an innocent trip to South Carolina. We had planned for months. We knew who would cook the turkey. We discussed weeks ahead of time who would be in charge of the sweet potatoes and what specific recipe they would use. And of course, we knew that my sister had to make her coma inducing chocolate pecan pie.
Our car pulled into her driveway the day before Thanksgiving and it seemed like we turned hordes of kids loose in her house. The adults organized the kitchen to prepare for the big day. The house was filled with a wonderful blend of chaos and creative organization. After a good night’s rest, we quickly made coffee, set the kids still in their jammies in the living room to watch the annual thanksgiving day parade broadcast, and turned on the oven. (Big record scratch sound). But. . .of all days, today was the day the oven decided to break down. NO OVEN!!! (Sounds of screaming people running through the streets madly)
All the Pilgrims and Indians got together and fought the impulse to panic. Then, my brilliant sister called her next door neighbors who were out of town–you guessed it–spending their holiday with a group of people. They revealed the super secret false Plymouth rock hiding the key to their backdoor, and happily agreed to let us use their oven. We all had to work a little harder and even the kids were carrying things back and forth between the houses. THANKSGIVING WAS SAVED!! (Fanfare). And so was the chocolate pecan pie!!! (Louder fanfare)
The reason that story is important, is because it’s happened before. At my house. At your house. At the out of town neighbor’s house. If we’re honest enough to admit it, nearly every holiday, or gathering, or workplace, offers scenarios that are best tackled when everyone works together. And when we do, we accomplish more. We enjoy it more when we all get to take part in the effort. God created us to work together.
So parents, join me this holiday season as we focus on this idea of togetherness. First, if you are celebrating with family members you don’t get along with, set aside your differences for a day. Then be intentional about making your kids a vital part of the team without making it a chore. Let them feel what it’s like to be an important part of the celebration!
And whatever crazy thing happens over the holidays, we would love to hear how you cooperated and worked together as a family to make the most of it!
Greg Payne is a multi-talented creative writer for Orange and 252 Basics. He has been married for 17 years, has two daughters and two unnamed dogs. He is a grill and smoke enthusiast, tree house builder, vacation planner, and Mario Brothers competitor.