While you’re rushing to get this done and that bought and those wrapped and that cooked and visit them and call her and on and on, we want you to stop for a moment
The holiday season is upon us. There are already blogs and tweets about how to “survive” the holidays, how to “get through” the Thanksgiving dinner, and how to “deal with” in-laws and family. None of it sounds like we’re gearing up for festivities. More like we’re gearing up for a week-long therapy retreat.
While you’re rushing to get this done and that bought and those wrapped and that cooked and visit them and call her and on and on, we want you to stop for a moment. Breathe. Slow down. Relax for one moment; it will all be there when you’re ready. The dinner, the presents, the gatherings, everything will be there, so take a moment before you jump back into the holiday craziness.
We are, especially at this time of year, thankful. We’re supposed to be thankful, and we have a season set aside for it.
The definition of thankful is adj; pleased and relieved. Expressing gratitude and relief.
Gratitude and relief. We’re all familiar with the gratitude part, but how many knew about the relief part?
We were going to write that we should be grateful all the time, all year round, but thinking about it now and the definition of thankful, maybe we were wrong to think that way.
Part of this season is the relief that we got here, that we made it to this season where we have time set aside to celebrate, gather, eat, drink, play, laugh, and sing, all supporting being thankful. We experience the relief of making it here again.
Most people express relief when the season is done, when the tree comes down, the prezzies are all unwrapped, the dinners are eaten, and there is no more to do. Then, relief sets in.
But, the definition of thankful doesn't state that the relief comes after but walks hand in hand with gratitude.
It makes sense. Relief means a feeling of reassurance following the release from anxiety or distress. We can be released from the stress and anxiety we face all the time during the holiday season.
We waited all year for this; it must be for a reason. It must be for something more than just adding stress to our lives, right?
As the story goes, in 1621, Plymouth colonists and members of the Wampanoag tribe gathered to give thanks. The colonists were thankful and relieved that they had survived, there was an actual harvest, and that they could see a future in their newly adopted home. To celebrate, they fired their canons and guns into the air making all kinds of ruckus. The Wampanoag were just investigating the noise, and they got pulled into the celebration. Sort of.
The colonists were relieved that their experiment of building a new world seemed like it would work. The Wampanoag were relieved that there wasn’t a massive war going on.
And together, they were thankful.
It’s All Just a Story
It’s a good story, but it’s just a story. We have no idea what the colonists ate on the first thanksgiving. Yes, turkeys were plentiful in the area, so that makes sense. But mashed potatoes and the like, who knows?
Mussels, lobster, crab, and eels were available in the bay. These were eaten by the English colonists and the Wampanoag tribe, so seafood was probably a considerable part of the meal.
A lot of tension probably marked the first Thanksgiving. The colonists didn’t know their Native American brethren too well, and the Wampanoag warriors were in the woods, in the dark, all the time, right next to the Plimoth homestead. There was relief when the festivities went off well, no one was harmed, and all were thankful in their own way.
What makes the story a good one is that it speaks of the possible. The fact that people met people and they were thankful enough, relieved enough that they saw the need to celebrate and come together.
We’re Relieved to be Here Again
Here we are in the holidays again! Here we are at the time of year when it’s okay just to forget the weariness of the world and look each other in the eye and be. Together. If possible.
Even those who have lost loved ones, or have loved ones who cannot be with them, are relieved because this time of year allows us to be our whole emotional selves and freely express the sadness of loss, the heartache of missing someone in and amongst all the joy.
The holidays allow us to be our best selves if we choose to be. That best self can laugh and cry and hug a little longer, miss a little more, and laugh a lot.
The season is forgiving of big emotions, louder laughs, tears of sorrow, and joy. We seem to bottle it up all year round, letting bits and pieces leak out on social media, and now, at this time of year, we can express
ourselves a little more freely, and we can feel safe knowing that others will join us, support us and celebrate with us.
There is a great relief at being here again, being able to feel as much as we do at the holidays and share that with those who are special in our lives.
We’re Thankful for You
Sure, it feels like a pitch; every business has got to get the holiday message out, word it correctly, hit all the right notes, and keep an eye on the SEO while we’re at it.
But this is not a pitch; at ThoughtLab, we’re thankful for each other. We are relieved when we meet Monday mornings for stand-up, and we get to see each other, laugh about the weekend’s events, share in the joys of new dogs, new relationships, and more.
And we are thankful for you, our clients past, present, and soon-to-be. We are thankful for those who have visited our website, asked a question, dropped off a comment, read a blog, and shared it. No matter your interaction with us, however brief or long, we are thankful that you shared some of your valuable time with us.
Of course, we’re a business, and we love it when we have customers, but we’re also driven by a specific goal of helping companies and brands see further. When you allow us to help you, when you come to the table and play with us, bandy about ideas and create with us, that is a thrill that never gets old.
So, this holiday season, remember to allow a bit of relief. Remember to stop and look around, see people and listen to them. Let free your emotions. Say yes to what’s possible when we gather.
We hope for you what your heart most desires this holiday season. We thank you for being a part of our lives, bringing us your challenges, and celebrating with us when we succeed.
Let’s not rush through these holidays; let’s not get through them; get it over with or deal with them. Let’s sit in them, stop for a moment and appreciate all we have been given. The struggles, the joys, the losses, and the triumphs, for that, is what makes us human, and that is what connects us all.
We are thankful, and you are a huge part of that always.
Happy, safe, joyful, and memorable, may these holidays be for you.