CURATE: a menu or book of family recipes.
Forget “secret” family recipes. Family recipes should be passed down with accuracy, so in case you’re not living with members of your holiday party this year, you can at least enjoy the same flavors. Start a recipe box and write down all your beloved recipes – even the non-holiday meals – and pick a few out for Thanksgiving or maybe a Sunday night dinner. For a real homemade touch, handwrite the recipes on 3-by-5-inch index cards and take a picture of the finished product for generations to enjoy and reference moving forward. If you’re for sure having a virtual Thanksgiving, decide on a menu and then turn it into a paper craft project. Send out handwritten grocery lists, menus and recipe cards via snail mail, like a real formal invitation to a sit-down dinner.
CREATE: a box of comfort.
The reality is holidays can truly be an anxiety-inducing experience. Think about it. You’re cooking, you’re cleaning, you’re planning, or you may be in a situation where holidays just bring up bad family memories. We don’t blame you, meeting up with tons of people you haven’t talked to in forever and then all of sudden having to hold a conversation and answering possibly invasive questions would break anyone out in a flop sweat. Be prepared and make a little comfort box.
Pick a box and fill it with cozy things that can calm you down or dull the awkwardness for a bit. Pack a nice scented candle; Nepenthe sells soy-blend candles that smell like a redwood forest (and help support the Ventana Wilderness Alliance), and Luminata Books & Gifts has a range of colors and scents. Sneak in a pack of cannabis-infused mints from The Reef. Chuck in a stress ball, or a nice throw blanket or wool socks (we’re looking at Sock Shop on Cannery Row). Then when the party’s over, open up your comfort box and retreat to a bit of peace.
GIVE: Back to your community.
Is this a self-serving pitch to Monterey County Gives!? Uhhh… maybe. But also, not exactly. Perhaps the thinking goes that it’s not the greatest time to donate to nonprofits because of everything that 2020 has wrought. But that’s precisely why those who are fortunate to have a rooof over their heads, a meal in their bellies and a job to return to should give generously to those who don’t have the same advantages. There’s a list of 162 worthy nonprofits at mcgives.com. Already donated? Think about volunteering, perhaps for a toy drive or a clothing drive. Or volunteer at a community food giveaway
The best part about Thanksgiving is that there is zero percent obligation to give material gifts. The point of the holiday is in the name – giving thanks. If you haven’t already, communicate with the ones you hold dear. Send your loved ones a thank you card – and don’t just sign it. Take time to lean into why you are grateful for them. We need each other more, now that we are apart. Let’s give thanks to that.