Somewhere between preparing three...yes three...turkeys, setting the table, mopping the floor, loading and unloading dishes, and cleaning and re-cleaning counters, I had a thought. I know, amazing I could think at all. I thought about how strange it all is. We prepare this fabulous meal and then clean the kitchen so that it looks as if we secretly brought take-out food in the back door. Why do we go so crazy cleaning? Why do we spend all that time preparing a meal and then try to make our kitchen appear as if it had never been used at all? Weird, right?
A few years ago, I realized that when I had company over, I spent all my time in the kitchen BEFORE dinner, preparing. I then enjoyed my time DURING the meal. And then I spent all my time AFTER the meal cleaning up. By the time I rejoined my company, they were ready to LEAVE (or lying on the sofa in a turkey-induced coma). So now I do it differently. After the meal, I put a few things away but I don't stress about it. In fact, if it weren't for my sister, the dishes would be saved for when my guests left or maybe even for the next morning. And me? I simply enjoy the day, like everyone else does. We laugh. We share. We talk. We have dessert and then start all over, building happy memories one at a time. Ten years from now, I can guarantee you that no one will say, "I sure enjoyed the way Karen did the dishes right after dinner." But they just might be able to share a special memory - one which I was a part of.
As we begin yet another holiday season, lets be cognizant of the things we do just because they were always done that way. Lets build new traditions and lets tear down destructive ones. Lets start a revolution! Who's with me?