How to celebrate those who cannot be with you.


Thanksgiving is one week away. And if you’re like me, there will be changes at our table.

  • Maybe you’ll be working and sharing the meal with co-workers.
  • Maybe you’ll host a group at your house.
  • Maybe you’ll be a guest and join in a traditional celebration.
  • Maybe you’ll be connecting with family that you see once a year.
  • Maybe you’ll be celebrating without someone for the first time.


The table.


Sitting around a table – for any occasion – is one of my favorite ways to connect with people. There’s something about eating together that offers you a chance to pace conversation, bring all your senses to the surface, hand things to another and look people in the eye. And it also has the potential to open up raw emotions.


As I open the “Thanksgiving” folder on my computer, with a list of my favorite dishes, I reflect on the people who’ve been at the table with me over the years. Some will not be there this year because of different plans, a move, a change in relationship or because they’re no longer on this earth.


This morning, I raised my coffee mug and thought of each one by name. Recalling years of gatherings around Thanksgiving tables took me through a flood of emotions.


Honor those not with you.


And as I thought about Thanksgiving without my parents, who left this earth a few years ago, I came up with an idea. How about preparing foods that they loved to eat, to honor them and feel their presence? I’ll be adding rice pilaf and Brunkager cookies to the menu, and I will think of them. Somehow they will know, and I will know, that they are part of our table.


What might you do to honor those you won’t be near this holiday season?

You’ve got this.