Elevate The Pumpkin Pie


Every August it becomes painfully aware to me that I live life according to a different rule book than most of the population. The title of this rule book says it all.

Life Rules According to Carissa.

Catchy. Memorable. A real page turner. I consider it the consummate addition to Emily Post’s Etiquette. Every August when Starbucks rolls out its Pumpkin Spice Latte I am reminded over and over again of two things which are really the crux of Life Rules According to Carissa.

  1. People move through life too fast.

2. Why aren’t more people living by Life Rules According to Carissa?

We have a very hard time being present in this moment. Maybe it’s our American culture of innovation and invention that constantly pushes us to seek a better future or to desire change. As someone who can still release her inner-Annie and belt out every line of “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow” I get it. We have this attitude of “today stinks but if I can just get through this tomorrow, the next 30 days, the next 2 years, the next whatever…things will get better.” As a melancholic I ironically hold dear to the ideal of positive thinking. However, I think to a certain level this type of mindset can cause great discontent and dysphoria to constantly rely on tomorrow being better. We aren’t dealing with today. We aren’t enjoying what the present time can gift us. So we race to the next event or the next holiday or the next better day in hopes of our hearts and minds feeling less pain or discord.

I know 2020 is breaking our hearts. At the very least it is disrupting our routines. But I want to encourage you to not trash tradition this year. Don’t try to speed through the remainder of this year because it hasn’t been what you thought it would be. Intentionally be in each season of life. Celebrate each holiday separately. Stick with some rituals. If you don’t like yours borrow another culture’s or race to live in today. I love this quote from an article I read recently.

“Rituals make the ordinary extraordinary,” says Jodi Eichler-Levine, a professor of religion studies at Lehigh University. “A pumpkin pie on a random day in October is just a pumpkin pie. But a pumpkin pie on the fourth Thursday of November is not just pumpkin pie: It’s part of Thanksgiving. Our intentions, coupled with the season, elevate it.”

I have been scouring the intrawebs looking for new ideas to make memories with my teen and college age children this coming holiday season. Fingers crossed they all get to home for Thanksgiving and COVID won’t keep them from home. I will cry and cry and cry some more but we will make it work to make them feel loved and avoid FOMO. Here are three things we are going to give a go.

  1. Cookie decorating via zoom– I am sending a cookie decorating kit from my favorite local bakery to my parents. Since we can’t be together over Thanksgiving we are going to decorate Thanksgiving cookies together over zoom. Yes, I accept it’s not going to be the same as in person. But the intention is the same. Staying connected, making memories, and celebrating the holiday.
  2. Remembering the past not replicating– I think part of our collective grief this holiday season is that things just aren’t the same. We will get ourselves into emotional trouble if we try to compare this year with celebrations of the past. If you try to replicate past holidays exactly, it’s likely that this year’s will feel inferior. An activity for all ages we are going to try is to share photos, videos, and stories of past celebrations together. This can be done with a distanced outdoor visit or online as well.
  3. Remember the reason for the season– Before you slap my knuckles with a ruler and yell at me for crossing holiday streams hear me out. I can speak for our family that especially at Thanksgiving we are typically just about the food. The thanksgiving, the gratitude has been more implied rather than practiced. Some of these things we are going to try may already be a part of your family tradition. We are just a little late to the Thanksgiving table so to speak. We are moving Pinterest surfing to action. We are going to very intentional of communicating our thankfulness for our freedoms, our family, our health, and our prosperity through very simple things like writing thank you notes and creating a gratitude stones that reflect Joshua 4:2-7.

None of these traditions are going to take a bunch of time. They aren’t just mind blowing creative. But they are about my intentions for the holiday of simple family time where we all feel loved and connected making simple sweet memories together no matter where we are. 2020 has thrown us so many sucker punches. But one thing I think we can all be grateful for that in a year full of uncharted waters we have been forced into a blessing we have all asked for in previous years.

Our new normal seems to be a simpler life and less chaos for the holidays.

P.S. Just in case you are confused we don’t consume PSL until October 1. We don’t decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving. And we certainly don’t consume Peppermint Mochas before December 1. Refer to Life Rules According to Carissa Chapter 2 page 163 section 4b lines 32-47.

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