Have you ever thought of Reclaiming a food? Well, if you’re looking at your calendar for next week with trepidation about the food you place on your plate for Thanksgiving, you’re not alone! You may need to Reclaim some food.

I’m writing this blog in November 2020. Although Thanksgiving will likely look very different this year because of the global pandemic, there will still be gatherings, even if they are smaller than normal. But no matter what your plans are and no matter how many people are at your Thanksgiving gathering, there will still be emotions and memories that come up because of your recent separation, divorce or breakup. That’s normal!

Firstly, as a recap, what is Reclaiming?

Reclaiming is all about stepping back into these memories to create a new and positive association after the pain of a divorce or a bad breakup. Because the truth is, you loved that person and he or she loved you. Although your ex may not have loved you in the way you deserve, that does not negate the love that was shared. Also, that does not mean that you need to stop enjoying the things that remind you of your ex – Including food.

Let’s think back on your Thanksgiving memories with your ex. Think about what was on his or her plate. Perhaps your ex’s family had a certain type of stuffing that was prepared every year and you loved it as well. Maybe your ex always prepared the cranberry sauce in a very special way while your family always used the canned kind. Or maybe your ex was obsessed with pecan pie. My guess is that something right now is coming to mind as you are reading this. And, honestly, it’s  not as much about the food as it is about the memory attached to it.

Let me ask you, what are the Thanksgiving foods that remind you of your ex? Now, how can you Reclaim them this Thanksgiving? That is what we are going to dive into in this blog today. You’re going to be given an activity to step into Thanksgiving this year with intention, fully prepared to Reclaim!

Ready? Well, let’s go for it! Let’s step into Thanksgiving with intention!

What you’ll need:

  • Paper and pen
  • A friend or family member you trust who will help you Reclaim.

Making a Plan

  1. First, take the sheet of paper. Be sure you a have a few minutes to brainstorm. Preferably uninterrupted.
  2. On the left side of the paper, list the thanksgiving foods that come to mind when you think of Thanksgiving with your ex. This could be all the staple Thanksgiving foods: the turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, or pumpkin pie. Basically, think about what his or her plate would have looked like. And, for good measure, write any foods that remind you of your ex.
  3. To the right of each food item that was listed, write the memory that comes up when you think of this food. This is more about getting the memory out in the physical space rather than just in your head. Writing them down will also help you talk about it with the person helping you to Reclaim.
  4. Next, circle any of these foods that you would like to enjoy this year or in future years. Basically, which of these foods do you want to Reclaim this year? It could be all of them, or it could be just one. Congregations, this is your reclaiming list for your Thanksgiving meal!
  5. Now that you’ve made your list, you can prepare and make a plan! Think about whether or not these items will be at your Thanksgiving gathering this year. If necessary, talk to the host about the menu for the day. If there is an item on the list that you are not sure will be at the meal, volunteer to bring that dish. If you do not know how to prepare it, find a recipe and practice before the day of the event. Also, there is no shame in buying the dish from a local restaurant!

Now that you’ve made your list and made a plan, it is time to enjoy the meal and Reclaim that food!

Here’s how to reclaim the food at your Thanksgiving meal:

  1. Prior to the Thanksgiving gathering, journal the emotions that come up while you are preparing to go to the Thanksgiving gathering. A few questions to consider while you are journaling:
    • Think about your thanksgiving last year
    • What will you be doing this Thanksgiving? How do you feel about it in contrast to last Thanksgiving?
    • How do you feel about going through this thanksgiving without your ex?
    • What emotions are coming up when you think of Reclaiming the food this year?
  2. Think about a friend or family member who can help you Reclaim. You should feel free to share your emotions and memories with this person. Bonus points if they are going to be at the Thanksgiving gathering!
  3. Explain your Reclaiming plan with this friend or family member. Share with them this blog.
  4. In real time (if possible), share how you are feeling with the person helping you Reclaim. Share the memories of previous Thanksgivings with your ex. If the person helping you reclaim is not physically present at the Thanksgiving gathering, talk to them beforehand and try to text them throughout the day. Try your best to be present with the people at your gathering, but it is okay to find the support you need to get through this holiday.
  5. Mindfully place the food items on your plate – considering your Reclaiming list that was created before.
  6. Eat and have fun during the meal. If you feel comfortable, share with everyone the memories that come up while you are at the gathering. Let the others know if you are having a difficult time. Practice gratitude during the meal (this is Thanksgiving, after all!)
  7. Congratulations, you just Reclaimed Thanksgiving and the food!

It doesn’t matter what it is, anything can be Reclaimed! If something brings up pain or fear, you can step back into it with intention to create a new association. That’s Reclaiming. That includes Thanksgiving food.

If you ended up Reclaiming your Thanksgiving food, I want to know about it! Let me know about it by commenting on this blog or sending me a message on Instagram @hope_reclaimed. Also, post your photos using the #ireclaimedit. You’re so much stronger than you know.


A Reclaimed child of God.


Leave a Reply