To commemorate a past event, you kill and eat an animal. It’s a ritual sacrifice. With pie.” – Buffy the Vampire Slayer

When I was a kid, Thanksgiving was a big family affair. My mother’s family would all descend on my grandparents house in Ashfork, Arizona and spend fours days eating, watching football, and arguing. (We’re Italian) My memories of those times are so vivid, I can still smell the food.

However, nothing stays the same. My grandfather died and my parents divorced and those big holiday family gatherings became memories. Sure we tried to keep tradition alive here in Vegas, but the reality is, it’s not the same.  For me, it’s almost more painful to keep going back to reclaim what’s been irrevocably lost.

As a result, Thanksgiving went from being one of my favorite times of the year to one of my most rejuvenating. Every year, I push myself further and further away from the familial festivities to create my own traditions. When I was in college, I worked myself into the ground. (Hello! Overtime and bonus commission.)Then I would go home to my precooked Thanksgiving dinner (thank you Safeway) and enjoy a Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon.

Now, I use the time to work on me. When else do I have four relatively uninterrupted days in a row that are just for me? While everyone is taking the four day weekend to shop and cook; I use it to clean and reflect. This is the time I clean out my closet, my desk, my books, even my email. I tweak my business plan and set my goals for the following year. Oh and I put up my Christmas tree. (A girl’s got to have a little fun.)

I then create a list of everything that must be accomplished in the weeks before Christmas and work like a fiend to get it all done. What doesn’t get finished won’t so it gets forever erased. I buy a new notebook and shift everything from the year to my external hard-drive  so when the holidays are over I’m starting with a clean slate. It’s a jump start. So while everyone else is finding the energy to kick it into gear around the middle of January, I’m ready to go January 2.

As I prepare for my cleaning spree, I realize that this year will be slightly different. This is the final year of my twenties, so all those ten year goals now come into play. This means I really get to kick some tail in 2011!

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