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 issue 196 ~ week of November 20th, 2020
Go ahead — make someone's day. Forward this week's issue to a friend who might need some ideas for celebrating a modified Thanksgiving this year. If you're not already subscribed, sign up to get GNI weekly here. 😊
enjoy together (via @riverheadbooks)

Note from Our Guest Editor, Priya Parker

Morning <<First Name>>,

It is an absolute treat to guest edit GNI, particularly as we approach the holidays. As a long-time fan, I’ve downloaded GNI spreadsheets to get my life in order, learned about “scrolling with care,” and even bought an extremely effective mosquito repellent. Part of the reason I love GNI is because it’s a collective invitation to slow down and be more intentional, alone and with your people. 

Two years ago, I wrote a book called The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters. I wanted to demystify how to create meaningful, transformative experiences for and with others on your own terms in everyday life. I was curious: Why do some dinner parties take off and others land with a thud? Why does one wedding move us and another barely register? What is the difference between a conference that builds courage in people and one in which attendees leave feeling deflated? 

As we turn to the holidays, in the midst of a global pandemic and on the heels of a divisive election, it’s time again to get creative and ask: What is it that I most need this year for this holiday? Who are my people right now? And how do we make this meaningful, not complicated?

Powerful, memorable gatherings, it turns out, have a specific, disputable purpose. The gatherers know why they are convening and they’re OK if it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s the grandmother who, for her 80th birthday, issues invitations only to her nine adult grandchildren, realizing that magic happens in smaller groups and when the rest of the family isn’t meddling. It’s the consultant who throws herself a “quitting party” and asks the friends in her life who make bold choices to bring a practice or piece of writing that blows courage her way. Gatherings become more meaningful when, instead of repeating rote formulas, they address our actual needs.

As you plan for Thanksgiving, whether with your current pod or virtually with the ones you love, here are some questions to ask yourself (and your people) to invent new ways of being together that are safe and still carry some magic:

💛 What is it that I most need this year? Is it a feeling of gratitude? Is it quiet? Is it joy? Is it a moment to mark loss? 

💛 Why do I celebrate Thanksgiving? What is the purpose of this holiday to me this year? Is this the story I want to keep telling and retelling my children? Given its fraught origins, is it time to rethink the holiday altogether

💛 Who are my people this year? 

💛 Do you love the ones you’re with? Or do a Zoom thingy with the ones you’re not? Or both? 

💛 Who is my first circle of responsibility? And what form can responsibility or care take this year?

💛 Who is my circle of joy? And how can we infuse joy into this day? 

💛 What is an activity that’s uniquely “us” that would help us feel together? 

You are certainly not alone in trying to figure this all out. We are each navigating and inventing and pulling a blanket over heads and taking a breather and trying again. And, I have no doubt that new traditions and rituals will be invented this year that we might just carry with us. 
I wish you and yours the coziest and safest of holidays, and am blowing courage your way. 

Priya Parker

Follow Priya on Instagram @PriyaParker, listen to her New York Times podcast, Together Apart for more tips on how to creatively gather in these times, or read The Art of Gathering, now out in paperback. You can also sign up for Priya’s Art of Gathering newsletter, where she writes about creating meaning in modern life, one gathering at a time. 

weekly picks

this week we asked the Lounge community for their recommendations for modifying Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving celebrations this year
a perfect table-setting corner (via @ashleyhosmer)
  1. When in doubt, bake a pie...  🥧 "Alone on Thanksgiving? I've never done it... until this year. I realized in addition to my family, I'd really miss baking on Thanksgiving. So I reached out to all my local friends and coworkers, who normally I wouldn't see during this time, and told them I'd love to bake them a pie. I gave everyone 3 choices and told them they'd pick up the pies from me (in a socially distant manner) on a specific day of Thanksgiving week. This anticipation for the future is something I've really missed and this activity is a great way to get it back, while showing those in my life (who live locally) how grateful I am for them this year." - Rachel S., Lounger 
  2. To make sure everyone has family recipes on hand... 🤗 "Since my family won’t be getting together to cook for the holidays, I digitized all of our family recipes. For holiday gifts, I’m also mailing a hardbound book of the recipes to the fam. Previously, these recipes were on old scraps of paper in my grandmother’s notebook and now they'll take a new form where everyone has access to them. - Olivia R., Lounge Team 
  3. For some early sustainable shoe-shopping this season... 🌎 If you’re on the hunt for sustainably made gifts this holiday season, meet Nisolo. Nisolo is working to change an industry, ensuring workers are paid a living wage, factories are carbon neutral, and everything — from Chelsea boots to wallets to cozy gloves — is made with style, comfort, and function in mind. GNI readers have exclusive access to shop Black Friday early using the code GNI25 for 25% off sitewide through December 1. (No exclusions!)  #SPONSORSTHING
  4. A tip for an intentional Thanksgiving table... 🍽 My boyfriend and I are using recipes from Indigenous chefs that represent the foods native to the area we live. Digging into our region’s food history and understanding what foods are Indigenous or not, as well as how native communities prepare them has been so educational and an activity that I’ve been putting a lot of intention and gratitude into.” - Janine B., Lounger 

  5. For a new tradition... 📺 “I have spent the last 4 Thanksgivings and Christmases alone since my grandmother (our family matriarch) passed away, and always find it as a way to practice gratitude and reflection. I normally get Chinese take-out, watch a few classic films (The Godfather, Goodfellas, Star Wars, Rocky, etc.), and reflect on the things I'm grateful for that year.” - Jade W., Lounger 
  6. To feel the power of sharing, even from afar... ❤️ “A small ritual I’ve been enjoying is every time I cook something my mom taught me to make, I send her a pic in the family group chat for a lil reminder of food and family this season. It's a microinteraction, but it's a sweet way to share that traditions are living on one way or another.” - Mary Anne, Lounge Team
  7. Bring a little slice of home to your pod... 👩‍👩‍👧‍👧  “Something I find nice is sharing family recipes with those you are able to gather with [even if they're not family]. Last November I made my friends my Nanaw’s classic banana punch; it was really fun to share something that was so special to me. I can imagine a potluck of family recipes with your pod could be really fun, or you could try a “virtual recipe potluck” with friends or family where everyone contributes to the menu and makes the same things while physically apart. I also personally love printing menus for dinners so printing a menu and sending via snail mail is starting to sound like a really great idea.” - Hannah L., Lounger 
  8. A silver lining in a smaller Thanksgiving... 👩‍💻 "Because it's just my immediate family this year, we're taking advantage of the opportunity to experiment and try something different. Everyone has suggested a few new dishes and we've voted on them in a Google Form! It's a small, silly thing but when so much feels mundane or — conversely — overwhelming or out of control, finding some excitement and comfort in planning a yummy meal together has been really nice." - Alix D-P., Lounger 
sponsor spotlight: quip

Now here's something to smile about... 😁

If you're *just* about ready for a season of sweet treats (gingerbread houses, anyone?), good news: quip makes oral health products simple, affordable, and enjoyable to help ensure your routine can rise to the occasion:

⏱ Electric toothbrushes include a two-minute timer with guiding pulses that remind you to switch sides

🏃‍♀️ The sleek and eco-friendly refillable floss (string and pick) includes a reusable pick that can be restrung over and over, and a compact, mirrored case for on the go 

🦷 Electric toothbrushes and refillable floss dispensers come in your choice of metallics that can blend in (or stand out!) in your bathroom 

Shop early and save up to 40% on holiday bundles. Beyond the brush and floss, quip also offers mint anticavity toothpaste and a modern refresh bag. 


stay home, take care

ideas for taking care at home during the holiays...
every table looks different (via @sarahespeute)
What we're reading: 📚
How to Build a Life | The Atlantic 
22 Ways to Make Thanksgiving Weird | Vice 
How to Do Thanksgiving With Less WasteNew York Times
How the Pandemic Could Change Traditional Thanksgiving | Vox

What we're watching... 👀
“My friend and I are watching holiday Hallmark movies "together" by starting them at the same time and live-texting each other our thoughts. It's a fun, non-Zoom activity and TBH it's better than going to the movies together IRL!” - Caitlin K., Lounge Host

"I've found some comfort by rewatching Thanksgiving episodes from some shows every week — the Bob’s Burgers’ ones are hilarious, and I've also watched the Brooklyn 99 Thanksgiving episodes recently. Planning to cap it off with the classic Gilmore Girls four Thanksgivings episode the day before Thanksgiving. 💞 I really needed the laughs and the reminder that it’s a holiday about love and family, which this year means staying safe by keeping our distance." - Maris F., Lounger 

What we're listening to... 🎧
“My family loves music, and since there is so little Thanksgiving music out there we usually end up listening to Adam Sandler's spoof Thanksgiving song while we're cooking. But this year, Ben Rector came to the rescue with a new Thanksgiving song that has already induced some tears from family members who can't be together to celebrate. I'm fortunate to live in my hometown so I can celebrate safely with most of my immediate family, but we'll be sending that song to my sister across the country so she can listen with us.” - Kelsey D., Lounge Host

How we're moving... 🏃‍♀️
“I will be alone this year for Thanksgiving — I just moved, plus there’s still a pandemic. I plan on doing a virtual turkey trot to raise funds for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. So many nonprofits have been severely impacted by the economic downturn and rely on in-person events to fundraise. People with chronic illness are also at greater health risk during a pandemic with reduced access to care, so it means even more to be able to give back during this time and provide the crucial dollars needed for support and research.” - Heather S., Lounge Host

What we're cooking... 👩‍🍳
“I’ll be alone on Thanksgiving this year! I normally run a road race on Thanksgiving, so I’ll be going on a run, and then am planning an all-vegetarian menu (cue ALL the squash and apple and sweet potato dishes, plus this pecan pie bar recipe). I haven’t decided which holiday movie I’ll watch yet, but it’ll likely be something overly dramatic on Netflix.” - Willa T-F., Lounge Host

heading into the weekend like...

pie people, don't get mad (via @elisabeth.buu)

p.s. a gift guide from the GNI team!

seeking gift inspiration? take a peek at the GNI holiday gift guide.
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