The Midsters Podcast

7 Ways to Reimagine Your Midlife Thanksgiving

November 09, 2022 Season 1 Episode 26
The Midsters Podcast
7 Ways to Reimagine Your Midlife Thanksgiving
Show Notes Transcript

This week Tish & Ellen talk about the Thanksgiving holiday and how to embrace new holiday traditions in midlife.  Maybe you find yourself with a small gathering of friends rather than a big family at your table or you're joining someone else's Thanksgiving celebration for the first time in years.  These changes can be both scary and liberating as a midster.  Ellen and Tish share the 7 ways they've reimagined the holiday to embrace change and fill it with joy.

Obsessions:
Tish: Eco-friendly paper lanterns
Ellen:  going to your local museum like the San Francisco Legion of Honor.

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Tish Woods:

We are at the start of a very busy holiday season. And midlife can bring some changes and some challenges during these holidays for us and for our friends. So this may be the perfect time to start some new traditions. And we want to ensure that you don't find yourself alone this holiday season. So just like with so many other things at midlife, it's time to embrace the changes and create some new amazing memories.

Ellen Gustafson:

You know, Tish, I couldn't agree more. And it's true, whether you're an empty nester, you have kids scattered in other places, you're in a divorce situation or just, you know, families far away and you have some work obligations, and really can't get away, just living far from family. You know, people can find themselves without those traditional plans of like a big family around a table. And really, what should you do? Well, I agree with you, it's start, it's time to start making some new traditions and embracing these differences, even though we know that can be really difficult.

Tish Woods:

Exactly. But before we get started, we need to talk about our obsessions for this week.

Ellen Gustafson:

I agree. Tish, what do you got for me?

Tish Woods:

Okay, so my obsession this week is something that I've been obsessed about a different times. And he kind of works into our holiday season. So I'm going to encourage people to really embrace this obsession. I absolutely love those Chinese lanterns, those big white ones, you can get colored ones too, but that you put on you light them, and they slowly rise up into the air. And when you do them in big bunches like say you have a big party of maybe 20 or 30 people and everyone launches one. They are absolutely spectacular. And I've done them at different times for different reasons. But I love at the holidays, when we're thinking about what to be thankful for that we use these to write the idea down, and I'm gonna go into that a little bit later. But my obsession for this this week is Chinese lanterns. I love that. And I really think the idea, I know we're going to talk about it a little bit more. But putting that message thinking about the gratitude and the act of writing it down and sending it off to the ether to the universe. I think that's really profound. Absolutely, absolutely. Well, what about you, Ellen, what is your obsession this week?

Ellen Gustafson:

Well, my obsession this week is actually something I did this weekend, which was I went to a museum in my hometown. And a lot of times I think we save museums for when we're traveling to a new location, right. And I know Tish, we've talked about this before, you know, really being a tourist in your own town. But I went to the Legion of Honor, which is beautiful museum in San Francisco, out by the ocean. And I saw a wonderful exhibit there. And it reminded me that there are so many options just here in the San Francisco Bay Area. And I also heard there's going to be a free weekend of museums coming up to celebrate the holidays. So my obsession is going to a museum in your own town.

Tish Woods:

Now, let me ask you, did you go on your own? Or did you take someone with you,

Ellen Gustafson:

I took someone with me a shout out to Jane Baker, who is one of our Trinity tribes daughter. So one of the things I love about our friend group from college to is that we are friends with each other's children, and some of our kids are friends with each other. So it was great. She had not been to that museum. She's been living in San Francisco for a few years. And we just had a blast a lot of laughs and a beautiful exhibit that we saw there. The Gau Pei designer from from China, beautiful things highly recommend it.

Tish Woods:

Well, I kind of knew that you had gone with. And when I was out in San Francisco, we went with Jane to see again, something in San Francisco she had never seen. We went down to the Mission District to see all the murals and stuff. And I gotta tell you, it was just so delightful. Meeting Kristen's daughter and spending that kind of time so if you've never done that, if you've never reached out to a friend's child who may be lives near you

Unknown:

You don't wait for their parent to be around, invite him out. Take them for a nice dinner or lunch or something, do something fun. It's an amazing bonding. And just to see the little traits of hers that are like Kristen, yeah, she's she's not quite a copy of her mom. But you can see the nods to her mom. And it was just so fun to do that. So, no, so it was so great. I really loved it.

Ellen Gustafson:

But, you know, let's dive into our topic here for today's today's podcast. And we know we talk about how things look different here at midlife. And I really think it's time to shake up the holiday season by starting with thanksgiving. And you know, some new traditions can make the holidays more meaningful, and really, maybe more fun. So maybe you find yourself without plans this year. And I think we're going to talk about getting busy and making some plans. And I know for me in the past, it's been hard to reach out on things like this, but I'm from the East Coast. I've lived here on the west coast all these years, no family really close by. And I found that whenever I reach out people embrace me.

Tish Woods:

You know, it's funny, because I think, especially some of these holidays that we have coming up right now, for so many years. We were the ones in control of the holiday. Yes, we had the families, and we made all the plans, and everyone came to us and and there was no thought of what if I don't have a place at the table, per se. Right, right. You know, and we've midlife, things start to shift. And we find ourselves in this really unfamiliar territory, right? So we may not be sure where we belong anymore, and what we should be doing. And it sounds like, you know,

Unknown:

I just don't want to hear that anybody was suffering in silence, and didn't feel that they could speak up and say, Hey, I need a seat at the table. Literally, I need a seat at the table, literally, it's time to start embracing and enjoying some of these changes. You know, it's like we're passing the baton of responsibility on to that younger generation to to do all the heavy lifting. And you know what, that's okay, this can be such an enjoyable time. Can you imagine not having to clean and cook for days and just show up.

Ellen Gustafson:

I mean, liberating this is, this is the liberating. So. But what I want to say is, I want to want to remind people think of friends that may be alone that may be afraid to speak up, and, and pull them in, pull them into your circle, include them, but we're going to kind of go into a couple of those coming up here. But it's all about embracing these changes. Change doesn't have to be bad. That's right. And hey, if you don't like it, things can go back to the way they were you can always claim reclaim Thanksgiving, but I'm not sure any of us really want to after we've passed that baton. But all right, we've come up with seven ways, not just to accept differences, but embrace them and make Thanksgiving amazing. Tish, what do you got for me for number one, okay,

Tish Woods:

I love the concept of friends giving, you know, in this time, where so many families are so far apart, sometimes we have to pick and choose which holiday we're going to have together. So maybe it's not Thanksgiving this year, maybe you're going to do something you know, at Christmas time. But you know what, take your friends family, and bring them together for friends giving. So I like to call this cook the turkey and they will comeyou know, put the word out there and see if anyone else doesn't have plans like you might not have plans. Or maybe they only have just a couple close family where it's a lot. It's not as monumental a holiday. And you know what? join forces and have yourself a friends giving. I second that.

Ellen Gustafson:

And I can tell you and you notice about me. I'm not really crazy about Turkey. So I'm super happy to go to somebody's house who's cooked a turkey all day because I'm all about the sides and I can bring from you know, starters to pi. But I love that idea of just having the friends giving I think,

Tish Woods:

Ellen does that make you this side chick. I'm not the side piece on the side check for things

Ellen Gustafson:

Yeah, yeah, I think though, a lot of times it can be a calmer Thanksgiving, when it's the friends giving None. What about you? What's a what's a tradition that you had before with your family? Well, because I live in California, and not to continue to rub that in, but it's usually about 60 degrees and sunny, most of the time, or even a little warmer on Thanksgiving. And we always start with a family. And it really is a beautiful way to be thankful. And I think, you know, if you have plans, you can add the hiking, if you don't have plans, you can make your day about being out in nature, and really experiencing that. I do it every year, and I can highly suggest it plus burn a few calories before you eat all that stuff. Absolutely.

Tish Woods:

So now when you do you go to the same spot, do you pick different spots each time, we have a couple that we do. And both of them I can bring my dog on. So we always like to have it kind of be the whole family, including GG, the dog. But they're right here in my town. I mean, it's not like we're going far for these. And everybody kind of expects it. So I know we're going to talk about this later. But I have to rip some of them away from football to go on the hike. But everybody friends and family knows, you can join our hike. We have a place near us here. It's called River Walk. And it's this gorgeous walk that kind of meanders through the woods, along the river. And the kids. And I've done that at Thanksgiving before. And I kind of having very grudgingly need to drag them out. But once we're there, they've always had a great time. So kudos to your boys for for just getting on board every year.

Ellen Gustafson:

No, no, no way to turn me down on that one. I have to say, All right, what do you have for us for number three?

Tish Woods:

Okay, so at Thanksgiving, I say you give a giving. Thanks, launch. Okay, so this is back to my obsession for this week. So like I said, I bought these Chinese lanterns, so really rather inexpensive to buy a big bunch of them, we're gonna put a link on for Amazon where you can easily get them ordered to be sent to your house. And, you know, I love to write on them things that remembering over the year, like things that have happened that I'm so thankful and grateful for. And I love doing this practice with my kids, especially to remind them that there's a lot of things that have happened over the year to be thankful for. And I think the good again, what you were saying earlier, when you put that when you write it down, it's so powerful. And when you put it out into the universe, it's kind of like embracing the goodness that has come your way. And I don't know, just it's, it's like telling Mother Nature, you're thankful. And I think your bounty continues when you do that when you show gratitude for your life. But I love writing on the lanterns. And then when you launch them the first time I'd ever gone to a launch. It was with friends of ours, and there were 5000 of them. Oh, absolutely spectacular in the evening sky to see that. So I would recommend that you all get enough of these lanterns for whatever group you're going to be together with. and launch them after the you know, the sun goes down. And they are absolutely spectacular. You they have like a cardboard piece at the bottom that has like the sterno fluid all over them. That's actually what you light. And then as it warms up, the whole container gets bigger and bigger. And then it just slowly lifts out of your hand and goes up into the sky. And it's just so pretty is just really so pretty. So that is what I'm calling the giving things launch.

Ellen Gustafson:

Well, I love this idea and I haven't heard of people doing it around Thanksgiving but it makes even more sense to do it. When you're talking about what you're thankful for. And I you know, I've heard of people who say you put little scraps in a jar throughout the year every time you're thankful and you can read them at the end of the year, but I think I like Right, right. But it's kind of that concept. And I think you really have to think about the year when you're writing on the lantern. And that really pulls you back into remembering a lot of good things that we tend to forget as we're in our busy, busy lives. So I love this launch. paper lantern launch party idea. Yeah. And I hope on Thanksgiving, you'll take a photo of that. Maybe I'll do it out here too.

Tish Woods:

Yeah, well, no. And what about you? What's another thing that you would love to start a tradition on?

Ellen Gustafson:

Well, we've done this a little bit in my family, but I'm going to call it 'Go Hollywood'. And this is to create like a movie night, either at the theater or at your house. And there are always blockbusters around Thanksgiving. I remember going to see so many James Bond and other big movies that have come out. But I know a lot of people still maybe aren't into going to theaters and there's so many things that are on demand. You can even do something like we always watch the Wizard of Oz wasn't that always on TV, when you were growing up was always that was always right around Thanksgiving and came out. I couldn't wait all year for it to come out. And it was one of my favorites. Right. So it's taken that concept of, of, you know, back when we only had a few channels and the Wizard of Oz came on, and really making it a tradition. And maybe you don't have much going on and Thanksgiving Day. But the following day, you're hosting a movie party, either at the theater or at your home. And I have to say I have a favorite holiday movie that I love to watch and my kids Oh, they've watched it way too many times. But it's Love Actually. I'm going to throw that one out there. It is a holiday movie. Have you seen that one Tish?

Tish Woods:

You know what? I haven't seen that one. But I thought with a house full of boys. You're going to say that the National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

Ellen Gustafson:

Oh, no. You don't know how many times we've watched Elf in this house. Like, that's definitely their jam. But my choice. It's a rom com Christmas movie. And if you haven't seen it, I love it. But you know what?

Tish Woods:

Nothing is better and more fun than popcorn, some treats and a good movie. Yeah, I really liked that Wizard of Oz when to you know, maybe even plan like, come as your favorite character. Or you have to bring the snack with, like you get Dorothy. So you gotta bring something that starts with the D and N. I'm going to be the lion. So I'll have to bring the lemon cello are

Ellen Gustafson:

you and your friends are so creative with these kinds of things. I love it. But yes, you can theme it up. Why not? I mean, this is the beginning of festivities, right? And having more energy around being together and doing fun in silly things. And you know what? That's not an expensive thing. Yeah. You know, it doesn't have to be big budget stuff all the time. It doesn't have to be ultra fancy. Like and what I also like the idea of doing this go Hollywood, especially if you're going to do it at home. You know, everyone's into buying these matching jammies for their for their families and stuff. Yeah. And you only wear it on Christmas. Well, you could get it to ferrata those. You could wear it for that night and have it for Christmas. You know, that's fun. That sounds like some peppermint schnapps may be in order for that party, or Yeah, I like that one. That sounds good. But I like that idea. Go Hollywood. Go Hollywood, baby. All right, Tish. I know you have another one for us.

Tish Woods:

Well, here's one, two, and I think a lot of people do tend to do this. But this is also kind of a fun one to do with your friends as well. You know, go volunteer, you know, at a shelter or food bank, you know, especially when you're going through a hard time or you're feeling maybe down that some of these traditions have changed for you. When you change your focus to someone else and not on yourself. You know, there's nothing like that to you know, to get out of, to get the struggle out of your head, you know, where you can really see, you know, what I do have a lot to be thankful for. And, you know, there are so many people that struggle out here. So, there's so many ways to do this.

Ellen Gustafson:

Yeah, I think you have to plan ahead because a lot of these organizations end up getting full. Doesn't have to be right on Thanksgiving. You know, this is like a whole weekend. There's several days that really go into this whole Thanksgiving thing. But consider you know what?

Tish Woods:

It volunteering your time, somewhere else. Maybe you volunteer your time to a young mom to let her go Black Friday shopping without the kids, volunteer your time, so I can come over, I can watch the kids, maybe you could have a movie night with those kids or movie and let that Mama go and do all her Santas stuff. You know.

Ellen Gustafson:

It's so true. I mean, there's so many opportunities for, you know, working at food banks, or cooking or serving food on Thanksgiving, or the days after. So I mean, it's just a time to remember that there's a lot of need out there. And there's a lot of places that really want your help during the holiday season. Yes, most definitely.

Tish Woods:

Well, I'm think I'm gonna go again here, okay, because what is this another one that I have done in the past, I just brought it up to friends of mine asking if they would be interested in doing this again. And I call it first we wobble, then we gobble. So we all went to a local turkey trot. We got all dressed up. I mean, I had tutus, we had crazy hats. I had three of my four children, home with me, but uh, several friends and stuff. And we went in, we really got all dressed up, I'm going to post some of those pictures. It's such great memory. But I do want to do this again. And it was a great way to start off the day. They're usually very early. The kids and I did all types of crazy videos, where we did slow motion, where we're going to the finish line, and my son and I are trying to push each other back. So we're the first ones over, and we taped it in slow motion. I mean, we just had so many laughs with this.

Ellen Gustafson:

But, you know, go out and do something like active and positive and enjoy the day. It's a great way to start off that holiday morning. You know, it's so is I mean, it reminds me of the hike, it's probably earlier. But in that day, just really starting it by being outside rain or shine, right and getting some exercise and being with other people, friends and family and really making it happen. So I really like that. First we wobble then we gobble, then we gobble and

Tish Woods:

you don't have to be a runner. A lot of people walk these, right, a lot of people walk these so on, but it's nice. Find one in your area, get out there and do it.

Ellen Gustafson:

Yeah, I mean, there's ton out by me to everywhere. It's everywhere. You can find a turkey trot. Absolutely. All right, well, I'm gonna go into cleanup position here and give us our last one, which I've named something cute too, because I knew you were going to name that. Cute. I'm calling this don't be shy and bring the pie. So I think a lot of us don't want to put ourselves out to actually ask friends or tell them, hey, my kids aren't coming home this year. Can I join your year celebration, right? Speak up, friends will be delighted to have you and include you. And I've joined my friend Jennifer many years, even with my kids, especially if you bring dessert, you can be the pie person or the she has this very large Italian family and they do this very side person, right? intricate, you know, course all these different courses, and it's so much fun. And my kids have really enjoyed it. And they've been so welcoming. And it got to the point where they're like is Ellen bringing her jalapeno cream corn with her? You know, one of my sides became a regular dish. And it was so nice. Jennifer always reaches out to include me. And so, you know, it's nice to get to know other people's Thanksgiving traditions too. And that's what I was able to do by going with her family and it's really been delightful. I've done that many years too.

Tish Woods:

You know, I'm in a small place and it just doesn't lend itself for those huge holiday get togethers and I have a dear friend Sara that we're like family now and we've done so many Thanksgivings together. We've done so many Christmas Eves together. It's just so nice to have those traditions. You know, sometimes family is who you make them. You know what I mean? It's not always blood family, but they are they're their family to me. They're my friendly I call my framily. And we always have such a great time. We do crazy, silly games. The one year we had that game where you couldn't close your mouth. You had like a mouthpiece that went. And I have tapes of the kids trying to say things when you can't close your mouth it is. It's just so funny. It's just funny that we usually play games and things. So I like that. But Ellen, you know me, I just can't let status quo. I need to throw in one extra here. Okay, throw in one extra tradition. Okay. Yeah. And I want to call this one. Forget about the pie. Let's talk about the guy. So as we know, Thanksgiving is all about some football games as well, right? It is. So this year, there's going to be six teams playing football on Thanksgiving Day. The Buffalo Bills, the Detroit Lions, the New York Giants, the Dallas Cowboys, the New England Patriots, and the Minnesota Vikings. And I think what everyone wants to know is which quarterback has the cutest turkey but

Ellen Gustafson:

I noticed your team is playing so I think you have some vested interest. You know, I didn't notice that. You've been Josh Allen is just your Josh Allen, my selection. I can't make any promises here. I gotta check out all the buds.

Tish Woods:

I think he might be mine. But kind of what a fun thing to do. It's like a fun, silly thing. You know, and I'm into football. So but a lot of women aren't. So make it more inclusive. And you can talk about, you know, which quarterback has the cutest bot? And we want to know your choice.

Ellen Gustafson:

Well, you know, I do watch football with my boys often, like, I know you do to Tisch, and they're always like, Okay, go ahead and say it because every time I have to say, Jimmy Garoppolo is a fine looking man, for San Francisco quarterbacks and they're like, We know you have to say it to go ahead and say, We're not playing on Thanksgiving. I'm just there. Well, you can say that about Josh. I could join the guy could join Buffalo. And I love that you added that. Because, you know, even my whole life growing up from the time I was young, there was always football around on Thanksgiving, it was very synonymous with the holiday. So it's good to keep that going. Yeah.

Tish Woods:

So again, you know, here we're talking about this common theme, midlife brings changes period, and a conversation changes are happening, whether you want them to or not. So I want to challenge everybody to really take charge of those changes, make some new traditions that are going to fill you with great memories and great joy. Take Charge of Your happiness by you know, making sure you don't let the holidays just happen. Be intentional, intentional about this. And if you are struggling, you know what, you're probably not alone. Talk about it. You might be that light on the path that brings people together. Okay. So it just goes back to this whole thing, that we are stronger together.

Ellen Gustafson:

I couldn't agree more Tish. And you know, I think we've talked about I've learned to put myself out there on many different fronts here at midlife. And so really thinking differently about the holidays, like you were saying with intention, asked to be included, include others, make new traditions, pass the baton to the younger generation, and know that anything is possible, right? It's just this year. And I think we want to say in closing, how thankful we are to you, our listeners, listeners of the Midsters podcast, you know, and we're thankful that you show up for us every week. And we we enjoy all of your comments and your support. And this podcast is given tip and I so much to be thankful for.

Tish Woods:

I couldn't I couldn't agree more. You know, join us on Instagram, join us on Facebook. We want to know more about what we can bring to you and what more episodes that you would like to enjoy. What you want to hear about what you want to talk about. Again, you've brought us so much joy by becoming part of our tribe and

Ellen Gustafson:

And let's go into this holiday season together as the Midsters tribe. that's right till next week Midsters