I am getting ready for Thanksgiving Day dinner. I have cleaned the house, worked a little landscaping magic in the yard, ironed the napkins — linen and I have a love/hate relationship! —done a trial run for the table top design, baked the nut bread, planned the menu, made grocery lists, visited at least three different markets for the food items and ingredients, polished the silver, purchased the potted mums to welcome guests at the front door …. and the list goes on. AND it is only Tuesday! It can be a daunting task, but I, unlike many of you, have done it countless times before. This is not my first run at trying to get my arms around this impossible meal, but it may be yours.
Also, unlike me, you may be attempting all of these preparations while you are spending all day practicing law. I remember well being at the grocery store at 9 PM on Wednesday night before Thanksgiving on the way home from work searching for the final ingredients for the perfect side dish — and some times just purchasing the bird itself at that late hour. I always was glad when I remembered that the turkey had to be thawed before it was roasted and that thawing takes a really long time! Thank goodness for the availability of fresh turkeys today. It’s a lot easier to look smart now.
No matter how you slice it (as in slicing the turkey!), preparing for and successfully carrying off Thanksgiving Day dinner is a daunting task. So, you wonder, why do you even attempt it when you are working full time at a job as responsible and demanding as yours? Good question, and the answer is the same one you would give to questions about other impossibly daunting tasks. That answer is that you are a perfectionist, and you MUST do it and do it perfectly. Am I right? Not a good answer.
Being a perfectionist can get you into a lot of trouble. In their book “The Confidence Code,” authors Katty Cay and Claire Shipman state that, “Women are so keen to get everything right that they are terrified of getting something wrong.” That’s the problem.
Start to give up your perfectionist self this Thanksgiving Day by embracing the concept that everything does not have to be perfect, and be thankful for that. Grocery stores sell prepared foods that will be delicious enough to grace your table and please your guests. Guests are very happy to bring side dishes to contribute to the dinner. Family members can be enlisted to help if you do not hold them to impossibly high standards. You do not have to do everything yourself. You do not have to be the perfect lawyer, the perfect table setter, the perfect hostess, and the perfect cook.
The most important thing is that you relax, enjoy your guests and schedule dinner around the National Dog Show (way better than the the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!) and some football, of course. Really! Some things are just more important than others!
Having enough wine on hand also is VERY important. It is essential for the table and helpful to the cook who may be a little overwhelmed with the Thanksgiving Day meal countdown. Just a little to calm the nerves, however. More can be problematic in achieving your Turkey Day goals. However, after dinner, all bets are off. Pop the cork and congratulate yourself for surviving the most challenging meal of the year.
Out with the perfectionist and in with the collaborator. That is what you should be toasting to this Thanksgiving Day.
As for me, there is still more than a little perfectionist left here. I will have to work on that. Maybe next year I will skip ironing the napkins!