Our Privacy/Cookie Policy contains detailed information about the types of cookies & related technology on our site, and some ways to opt out. By using the site, you agree to the uses of cookies and other technology as outlined in our Policy, and to our Terms of Use.


Yup, I'm the Mom That Just Canceled Thanksgiving

Photograph by Twenty20

When I turned the calendar to November, I braced myself. I knew it was already filling up. With little things and big things, events that created to-do items on my never-ending list and holidays to prepare for—like, THE November holiday: Thanksgiving.

I worked my way through each week between now and Turkey Day, prioritizing and wracking my brain for the things I knew I was forgetting and detailing out what I had to accomplish sooner rather than later. I needed breathing space. I needed less. Something had to give—and it wasn't me.

For context, I just had a baby and we’re preparing to move. That means I’m nursing around the clock, a bit hormonal, still healing from birth, organizing random closets, and packing in between homeschooling my daughter and snuggling my toddler while we watch "Moana" for the 100th time. My “regular” life alone is busy.

Adding appointments and holidays is more than I can handle. At least this year. And I’m OK admitting that. I’m OK saying enough is enough, I'm ready to rein it in. So, I canceled Thanksgiving.

Now, before you toss your precious, homemade pumpkin pie with delicate crust and fresh whipped cream in my face let me explain.

When our extended family started inquiring about Thanksgiving plans, I simply told them we weren't doing it. I didn't want to host and I didn't want to travel. Rather, I wanted—no, needed—an easy day at home, spending time with those I'm most thankful for.

My kids deserve a mom who isn’t constantly busy. So, the priority list has been made and a Thanksgiving event didn’t make it.

I've gotten some slack for my decision to cancel Thanksgiving but I'm OK with that. The last thing my overly grateful heart needs is a dose of guilt. Often, I’m so wrapped up in creating the picture-perfect holiday that I forget why a calendar day is reserved for such festivities in the first place.

This year, to simplify my life, minimize my to-do list, and refocus my mind and heart, I’m saying goodbye to the turkey and the dishes, the cleaning and fuss, and I'm reflecting on my thankfulness without the stress of a big gathering. That's what it's really about, anyway—right?

I have nothing against Thanksgiving and this won’t happen every year. But, this year, it’s right for us.

As the matriarch of my home, it’s my job to protect this space and keep a pulse on the atmosphere my family lives within. In that vein, we’re doing what we can to slow down and for now, that means we aren’t doing Thanksgiving, at least not the traditional way.

Thanksgiving is a precious time of year that calls on each of us to reflect on our lives, document our gratefulness and gather with those we cherish. None of that is getting canceled. We're just questioning if it really takes a big, overwhelming hurrah to accomplish thankfulness. Does it really take a 15-pound turkey and a tablescape that would wow Martha Stewart? Nope!

This year, I’m more grateful than ever. I have a husband who has gone above and beyond to help me transition to life with four little ones. My big kids have been patient and gracious when I lose my cool and juggle their needs the best I can. And my baby? That little boy is the greatest gift—such a treasure to snuggle on a peaceful Thanksgiving Day. And that’s just the tip of my thankful iceberg.

Moms don’t need one more thing on their plate. In fact, we need much, much less. It’s the quintessential idea of “less is more." The things that fill my time and worry me most often just don’t matter. Tackling the grocery store during the holiday season, searching Pinterest for the best cranberry sauce recipe, scouring the kitchen and bedrooms in preparation for guests, and hosting holidays (or traveling for them with a bevy of children): None of those things deserve a place on my radar.

My kids deserve a mom who isn’t constantly busy. So, the priority list has been made and a Thanksgiving event didn’t make it. Done and done. Whether you carry on with a big Thanksgiving or join me in trying something different, you can choose thankfulness either way.

More from lifestyle