Because the actual setting of the table, when your back hurts and your feet ache and your family is helping about as much as a collection of lawn gnomes might isn't always pleasurable. And the frantic resetting of the table when the cat knocks over your fancy glasswear and pulls down the tablecloth two seconds before people arrive isn't any better.
Meal preparation in the magazines and t.v. shows doesn't look anything like it does at my house. Here, the kitchen generously donates itself not only to the task of boiling, baking and burning (let's be honest here) the most important meal of the year, but also bends to receive the automotive project du jour, the incessant display of whatever "mommy LOOK" item is being paraded by a child, and the hotel switchboard-like ringing of the manic house phone.
As for holding the occasion of bringing loved ones together more closely? This is probably the most complex brush stroke on the painting, isn't it? 'Some of these folks,' you're thinking, 'I wouldn't admit to knowing on other days of the year.' Or am I the only one that thinks that? No matter. It's so hard not to be grumpy about the repeated loudness of some, or the chronic lateness of others. In fact, the same things that bug you on other days can seem magnified instead of lessened on holidays when you are stressed and excited and tired.
I know. But when that happens to you tomorrow, try something new. Close your eyes for a minute and think to yourself - 'This moment, this person is a gift to me that I could not have received on any other day but today.' And then, allow yourself to be glad for it. Give thanks that your mother, so slow, so annoying, so picky, is here to share this day with you. Smile broadly at your baby who, despite every instruction to stop bugging you, has come into the room to show you yet another stick-figure picture. God willing, that baby will grow up to celebrate with his own small family some day, and you'll not be there to smile. Wrap your arms around your husband, partner or companion, and thank him for working on that messy project in the middle of the kitchen. He's spending his holiday working to solve a problem so you don't have to. For that matter, gentlemen, remember to warmly thank your wife or sweetheart for the care she devotes to you on this and every other day. She loves to hear it, and doesn't mind at all when you repeat it.
This holiday, this brief journey away from days of drudge and drear, is a day to give - and give generously - of something you don't need to budget, save or shop for. Just thanks, in copious amounts if you're doing it right. Spend freely, without limit, and enjoy the bliss of reckless abandon that we've all come to avoid in other, more traditional expenditures. Tomorrow take a break and open your heart deep and wide and give thanks, as I do to you for sharing this moment in your day. And in keeping with my own advice - here's an extra for the road - Thank You!