How to Make Thanksgiving AWESOME

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, y'all. I can already taste the gravy. And I'm dusting off my stretchiest yoga pants in anticipation. (Let's both pretend I don't wear them on the regular, mmkay?)

As holidays go, this one is right up my sodium-and-cholesterol-loving alley. There's no annoying "Turkey on the Shelf" to re-position every damn day. No pressure to shower anyone with expensive gifts to show them how much you love them. No waiting in line at the mall for hours to get your kid's picture taken with the beloved holiday mascot, only to have him flip you off. Not that I'd know anything about that ...

Oh wait, I guess I do. Heh.

Anyway, Thanksgiving is all about the three F-words I love most: food, family, and friends. (What? You expected a different F-word? Ahhhh, you know me too well.) It's a time for stuffing your face with all the deliciousness your yoga pants can accommodate, with people whose company you can mostly tolerate enjoy. And then digesting a little bit and doing it all again.

But for some families, there will be nothing special on their Thanksgiving table. Because have you priced a turkey lately? They're expensive. And when you're searching your couch cushions and your cup holders for enough change to buy your kids a gallon of milk, or giving plasma to make ends meet, a turkey - let alone all its trimmings and side dishes - just isn't an option.

This holiday dilemma hits particularly close to home for me. My parents divorced when I was nine, and my mom went back to school and worked two part-time jobs to support us. We had a roof over our heads, but that was about it. I vividly recall the shame of accepting food bank handouts, and being one of the "free lunch" kids at school. The sting when one of my closest friends told me she wasn't allowed to spend the night any more because we never had enough to eat. The grateful excitement at finding a box of groceries anonymously left on our doorstep, immediately overtaken by a hot flush of embarrassment.

If it was a bad experience for me, though, I can only imagine what it must have been like for my mom. She worked so hard to provide, yet fell short, through no fault of her own. What must it have felt like to struggle constantly despite her best efforts? To send her child to bed hungry? To lay awake at night, trying to choose between groceries or electricity? Now that I'm a mother myself, it's a heartbreaking scenario, one I'm grateful that I only have to imagine living through with my own kids.

So this year I'm a proud part of something that can help families in need - a project that puts an amazing Thanksgiving dinner on the table for people who otherwise would have nothing. It's the Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project, it's in its third year, and so far this season has raised almost $75,000 and helped nearly 1500 families.

The not-so-good news? There are almost 700 families still waiting for help. And we only have five days left to do something. And that's where you guys come in.

If you're able to spare a few dollars to make this Thanksgiving a precious memory for someone, you can donate here. Fifty bucks feeds an entire family, but you can give whatever amount you'd like - it'll be paired with other donations. Whether you chip in or not, we need your help in spreading the word to people who can; friends, family members, co-workers. (And if you know of a business that wants to do some good, corporate donations are welcomed!)

As if you needed more incentive, there's a little extra way you can help out this year AND give yourself (or your loved ones) a gift, too: Scary Mommy's Guide to Surviving the Holidays. It's an e-book that's both hilarious and helpful, packed with funny stories, tips, recipes, and gift ideas, written by some of your favorite Scary Mommy contributors. I'm in there with "Ten Ways to Ensure a Memorable Thanksgiving." (#9: Purposely forget the napkins. When someone asks for one, lick your thumb and say, "Oh, who needs those? Mom spit cleans anything.") The book is only $2.99 (find out more about it and the links to order here) and officially releases on November 17th, but you can pre-order right now. The best part, besides laughing off some holiday stress? All of the contributors are donating our proceeds to the Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project - which means you can do good just by loading this bit of comedic gold onto your e-reader.

For the cost of a few holiday specialty coffees or one of those weird light-up reindeer for your front yard, you can ease the mind and soothe the heart of a fellow mom by gifting a peaceful, bountiful Thanksgiving for her family. (Re-read that in one of those "save the children commercial voices" if it helps.) Because no one should have to worry about putting their kids to bed hungry, especially on a day that's centered around eating.

... And because everyone should have a chance to test the max capacity of their stretchy pants.


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