Last year, I realized I had gotten way too perfectionist about the holidays. I vowed that this year I would celebrate them however felt right instead of according to the arbitrary rules in my head about how you're supposed to celebrate.
This is my first holiday season without my mom. I'm lucky enough to have good friends who made sure I wasn't alone on Thanksgiving, which is usually my favorite holiday. But something didn't feel right. I just couldn't get into the mood when I wasn't doing Thanksgiving the usual way. It used to be a quiet holiday for me; just me, my mom and maybe one or at MOST two invited guests. I'd cook, while watching the parade. We'd eat dinner - the same meal my grandma used to make - around 12:30 and then maybe catch some of the dog show (this invariably ended in us getting pissy because some bloodhound beat the smooth dachshund and some Yorkie beat the bull terrier). Then I'd go to my room to become comatose and watch the silly marathons on TV, while my mom watched football in the living room. That night, we'd decorate the Christmas tree.
Yesterday was a big, fun day with lots of people. But I didn't get to cook, we missed the parade because we were driving and the dog show because no one else cared, there was no squash casserole or baked sweet potatoes, and my tree is still bare. And, of course, my mom wasn't there. It just didn't feel like Thanksgiving to me.
So today I'm celebrating a second Thanksgiving, by myself, the way I want to. I'm going to make myself the dinner I want (baked chicken, sweet potatoes, coleslaw and dressing), watch clips of the parade on Youtube, and relax. I don't care about the dog show, but I do think I'm going to make a tradition of having an afternoon marathon of whatever has caught my attention the most during the year. See, last year my big thing was prog rock, and I spent Thanksgiving afternoon watching a marathon of Pink Floyd concerts on VH1. So this year I'll watch a marathon of Star Trek. Then I'll decorate my tree, provided my kitten decides to allow it.
In short, Thanksgiving is for traveling and seeing people and being thankful for everything I have now. This second Thanksgiving, celebrated on Black Friday, is for following my family traditions and being thankful for everything I had before. It's a time to remember the people and experiences in my past that made me the person I am.