Don’t even tell me if you’re only interested in the giveaway part of this here carnival. Just go ahead and skip to the end. But you should really read the whole post. It’s touching. And thought-provoking. And I talk about cats. And Cracker Barrel.

If that’s not enough to make you keep reading, well, I just don’t know what will do it…

You know how it’s so hard to get out the door some days?
Especially when you have to be somewhere at a certain time?

It’s those days when you can’t find your keys or you have a fight with your husband over something stupid. Corralling your kids is like herding cats . . . and keeping your cats out of the garage is like herding kids.

But once you finally get into the car? Whew! You can breathe a sigh of relief.

Sure, you might have to deal with traffic or snow or ice, the kids might be whiny and the car’s defrost might smell like mildew, but at least you’re on the road.

And then you arrive. It’s Thanksgiving, and all the family has gathered to celebrate the holiday. You pile into the house, take off your coats, say your hellos and make the first round of hugs. And then you realize…

You forgot the turkey. At home. Over an hour away.

Now what? Well, if you’re my family a few years ago, you simply brown up some hamburger and have tacos for Thanksgiving dinner. Because, really? It’s not the turkey that matters.

(And that stressed out family that forgot to pack the turkey in the chaotic mini-van now has dinner for the next week!)

Have you ever had that kind of Thanksgiving?

I wish I were a little more on top of things. Then I would have remembered to dig out and scan a picture of my family on Thanksgiving a few years back. In Florida. At a Cracker Barrel.

It wasn’t exactly anyone’s idea of the perfect holiday, but my great aunt needed help moving to a new home. And so my mom bought us all tickets and we flew south for the winter – or, at least, for the Thanksgiving weekend.

I won’t lie. We didn’t have a whole lot of fun that weekend. There was a lot of family stress (Some might even say “dysfunction,” but of course I wouldn’t. Nope, not me.), and the weather wasn’t even that impressive. You’d think Thanksgiving in Florida would be fun – beaches and sunshine and all that, right? Um, no. Not that year.

But here’s the thing: We were there for family. And that was the last time we got to see my Granna, my Great Aunt Anna. And I wouldn’t trade that for all the homemade turkey dinner and Missouri weather in the world.

So, let’s give up on the idea of a “perfect” Thanksgiving. It’s okay if your turkey isn’t golden brown. Don’t worry if you have to celebrate on Friday instead of Thursday. And if someone forgets to put the sugar in the pumpkin pie, let her off the hook (ahem, Shelly).

Because it’s not really about the gourmet food. Or the beautiful presentation. Or the autumn decor.

It’s about spending time with those family members you only see a few times a year. It’s about taking a moment, an hour, a day to thank God for all that He’s given us. It’s about old and new traditions that have special meaning to our families. It’s about the Yahtzee games and the green punch and the Plaza lights and the wishbone and the kids running around and drawing names for Christmas and breaking out the china for the girls and letting the guys watch football – or whatever is important to your family.

Tell me about it. What REALLY matters for your Thanksgiving? When did you have to give up on perfect? What are your plans for next week? Let us have it – in the comments and in your own posts.

That’s right! Don’t forget – playing along with today’s carnival gives you a chance to win one heck of a Thanksgiving prize! One lucky – and, I’m sure, thankful – reader will win this cool stuff:

How can you enter this awesome contest? Simple.

  • Leave a comment telling me a Thanksgiving memory – perfect or otherwise.
  • Or subscribe to this blog (and leave a comment telling me you did it).
  • Or become a fan of Giving Up on Perfect on Facebook (and leave a comment telling me you did it).
  • And yes, if you are already subscribed or a fan, that counts. Just leave a comment telling me.

Comments made by midnight on Saturday, November 21, will be eligible. After I consult, I’ll announce the winner on Sunday. Or Monday. Because I’m giving up on perfect, too, remember!


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