The holiday season is in full swing and there is no cozier place to spend this time of year than in New England. No matter where you go, people are out and about spreading holiday cheer. This time of year has become so commercialized that it’s important to bring what matters to you back into perspective. It should be a time of year filled with friends and family, hot cocoa, maybe a full glass of red, and good conversation. Over the last few years I have realized how important that last part is. Meaningful and thoughtful conversations with your family help you to understand one another on a different level. We are always growing, changing, evolving… even our parents! It’s important to have those conversations to check in and see what’s going on in everyones little world.
This year, with my family traveling and my sister working the night before Thanksgiving, I wanted to take on the task of cooking. My parents are so wonderful about making my sister and I feel like we are guests when we are home, we don’t lift a finger. I wanted to give them the same experience, it was our turn to pay it forward. Now, I am not patting myself on the back too much here, I have a confession… I used paper plates. Thats right, I said it! I used paper plates! They were festive, and it allowed us to spend more time together after our dinner, as opposed to cleaning up the kitchen for hours. I didn’t do a full sized turkey for our little group, I cooked a full turkey breast in the crock pot (insert shock and awe here), and it turned out fantastic! It was so flavorful and still provided us plenty of leftovers for the next day. Cooking a turkey breast this way is probably my new favorite trick in the kitchen! My favorite part of this experience cooking for my family was that it reinforced for me that the holiday season is not about having the picture perfect table, but the love between the people surrounding the table.
I am always go grateful to have the time with my parents and grandmother to work on my relationship with them, it helps me to appreciate my family so much. I had recently listened to a podcast by Chrissy Powers about the idea of “knowing yourself”. In this podcast she poses three questions to her listeners. The first is what activity do you lose yourself in? The second question was what breaks your heart? Thirdly, she asked if you felt as though you had a connection to something greater than yourself? If you really want to feel like you know your family or friends, pose these questions! We went around the table answering them, and hearing their answers made me so thankful for these amazing people in my life.
My parents took on the task of getting my little doodle dog down to Newport so she could get a taste of the city life. She went for her first swim, helped us decorate for Christmas, and of course has had the chance to meet all the people who have listened to me rave about her for the past few months. She has brought our family together in an entirely different way than before. The love we all have for this little black bear is almost comical, but so special. I have had so much fun walking her through Bowen’s Wharf to check out the Christmas decorations that are now out in full effect, where there is also a full schedule of holiday events.
Between Rhode Island and Maine we have so many festive things planned over the next few weeks! Next we’ll be off to the symphony in Portland for the Magic of Christmas. I can’t wait to share some of my Portland favorites with you!
Until next time, stay gangster.