5 Lessons About Change From Thanksgiving

This is our second Thanksgiving spent at an inn in northeast Florida, and there are some lessons in it for adapting to change more broadly.

Where we go is a great place with great food, but it’s a change my daughters don’t love – and one that still feels odd to me.

I grew up in Massachusetts and live in Connecticut. Thanksgiving is supposed to be cold, maybe with some rain or snow. It’s also supposed to be packed with relatives and friends and, the next day, a heaving refrigerator of leftovers that will carry us through the weekend without cooking again.

But at a certain point in the post-Covid adaptation to the hybrid work environment – with its periodic and unexpected days home from school for our kids – my wife wanted a break, a quick vacation between summer and spring breaks. Thanksgiving was an easy trip away.

I couldn’t blame her. We could use a break from the routine. Problem was my daughters and I liked having Thanksgiving at our house. We’d have 20 relatives and friends. Now I’m a more is more guy when it comes to parties. My girls loved the commotion. My wife was a good sport. Lots of food, lots of wine, lots of cleanup. It was amazing.

An inn in Florida wasn’t that. It was great by any measure. All kinds of food, the perfectly cooked turkey, a vast spread of appetizers and desserts. And the weather – much warmer.

But it was different, different from what I’d done and different from what my daughters had experienced.

To compound it, my wife loved the switch: no cooking, no cleanup, no planning, plus sun, beach, sleep.

So how does any of this relate to work and life today?
It’s about adapting and keeping the focus on what matters.

Here are five things I learned:

1) Focus on the goal: Thanksgiving relaxation. There’s more than one way to achieve it.

2) Understand the change: Complaining about the new Thanksgiving is just going to cause fussiness in my house. I miss the cousin party so we’re driving to see them when our girls are out of school at Christmas. It’s not the same as having everyone at my house, but we at least get to be together.

3) Process the pros and cons: Pros – We get a break as a family, and the weather is better than in Connecticut. Cons – No massive sleepover, no pie for breakfast the next day.

4) Know some people aren’t going to be happy: One daughter hates the change – Thanksgiving IS the house party. Another rolls with it. It’d be better to have full buy-in, but I know they like other things from the change. Whit’s Frozen Custard is a-ma-zing – and only down here.

5) Adapt the routine: We still get to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade; we just get to walk on the beach ahead of time. Plus there’s shrimp cocktail!