Because it sure is surreal sometimes

Because it sure is surreal sometimes

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving: No Pressure

For as long as I’ve known my husband, which is 11 years, I’ve known that Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday. I know this because our souls are deeply, almost cosmically connected, and because every year about this time, I overhear him tell someone, “Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.”

I’ve always just assumed it was because of the food. But this year, I decided to find out what was so special about it (to him) that it causes the year-on-year giddiness. I finally asked the other day, when he got home from work (school) and said this:

“I told my class today that my favorite holiday was almost here and they wanted to know why.”

“So do I. Why is Thanksgiving your favorite holiday?”

“Because there’s no pressure.”

I immediately performed a mental inventory of high-pressure holidays. I came up with one: Christmas. For me, Christmas is wrapped in an enormous amount of pressure: satisfying the children’s wish lists; visiting relatives; obeying the budget; pretending that I like to bake cookies; dodging the Jesus bullet. As I broke out in a cold sweat just thinking about the Polar Express bearing down on me in one month, my husband expanded on his answer. I should have known it would include his favorite F-words.

“Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because all you have to do is show up, watch football and eat food.”

That made sense. I didn’t have to ask him about Christmas—the multi-chambered vortex of yuletide pressure is just too obvious, with one exception: Baking cookies is his thing.

So then I started wondering what sort of pressure load the other holidays might be bearing on him.

“The 4th of July?”

“It’s a lot of pressure to find a red, white and blue shirt! And sometimes I forget to get the flag out.”

I realized he had spent a considerable amount of time thinking this through. I delved further.


“Doorbell…Barking dog…Calories!”

“Valentine’s Day?”

“Expensive Hallmark card, planning the perfect date.”

“St. Patrick’s Day?”

“Getting to the pub at 6 a.m. for green beer!”

“When is the last time you felt compelled to do that?”


“Anything else? What about New Year’s Eve?”

“New Year’s Eve! Tons of pressure! What party am I going to? Who is going to drive me? How am I going to stay awake until midnight?”

“We usually just stay home with the children on New Year’s Eve.”

“Exactly! Why don’t I get invited to any parties?!”

With that, I decided that 2015 would be the year of no-pressure holidays for our household. I thought I’d get a running start by cancelling Christmas, 2014, and instead plan a trip to Disneyland. After a quick visit to, I realized that the Most Expensive Place on Earth is no place to relieve any pressure whatsoever. Determined to get started with my “No Pressure in 2015” plan, I told all four kids they could invite a friend over on New Year’s Eve. With four teenagers, life has become all about ticking one more opportunity for disaster off the list, one day at a time, and New Year’s Eve is a big tick! Keep ‘em home and keep track of them is what I say.

Moving on, Valentine’s Day will be easy: I’ll just pick a fight with my husband the day before and we’ll call it good. St. Patrick’s Day: It’s on a Tuesday in 2015. Who drinks on a Tuesday? Don’t answer that.

Just when I thought I had spring in the bag, a sickening feeling crept into my gut: Easter. Every year, my moral stance (and normal habit) of only buying organic eggs in protest of commercial poultry farming practices dissolves in the face of buying four dozen of those expensive suckers all at once. But those poor Foster Farms chickens! Which brings us to Mother’s Day. Brunch or Dinner? In-laws or immediate family only? Is it OK to actually let one’s mother pick up the check on Mother’s Day? What if she insists? My husband is right!

I have to give it to my husband on this one: Thanksgiving is where it’s at, if for no other reason that what it doesn’t bring to the table: pressure. 

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