I ’ve dressed as a pilgrim on Thanksgiving for at LEAST the last 14 years. It was my mom’s ingenious idea many moons ago and she whipped up costumes for the entire family. Even after moving away from home, I’ve carried on the tradition. During college, I went home with various friends to celebrate Thanksgiving with their families and would transform into Grace the Pilgrim. I went on a week-long first date (it’s a long story) and met a guy’s family and wore the costume for our first introduction. Heck, I even met the entire EXTENDED family, all while dressed as a pilgrim. I’m not even joking. We didn’t really continue on after that…

I’ve worn my costume to the movie theater on Thanksgiving Day and on walks around the block. I’ve worn it to a Thanksgiving feast at a country club.

In fact, I knew Bobby was a keeper when I went home with him for Thanksgiving 6 years ago and he received a package in the mail. He had ordered a costume so he could be an Indian and so I wouldn’t feel so out of place. KEEPER I tell you!

Here’s the thing. Wearing this costume around my whole family of pilgrims is one thing – wearing it solo is another thing. I get butterflies in my stomach every year thinking, “It would be so much easier to just wear normal clothes! Do I really want to get all the funny stares from people?” But then I think this:

And I think about how I would LOVE to see someone walking around in a pilgrim costume on Thanksgiving. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, right? So every year, I put it on. It’s always hilarious and it’s always worth it.

This year, Bobby and I helped deliver turkeys with our church. It was actually the effort of several churches in the area and we knew we wouldn’t be familiar with the majority of the people volunteering. Bobby didn’t wear his costume because it’s not the most PC thing ever and we didn’t want to offend anyone, but I still donned my pilgrim gear. As we were getting on the elevator, I turned to Bobby and said, “I kind of wish I were wearing jeans right now. But you know what? I’m trying to do one thing everyday that scares me – and I’m doing this for the people. Just trying to spread some joy. It’s what a real life unicorn would do.” He laughed at my ridiculousness and held my hand hand as we stepped into the elevator.

Guess what? I got a number of funny looks but I also had some people go CRAZY over it. One of the head coordinators insisted that she get my picture holding one of the meals. Perhaps I’ll show up in publications and church bulletins across Miami…ha!

As Bobby and I were waiting for instructions and further direction, we were sitting on a bench at the church, just chatting. A guy walked past us and said, “Wait, are you guys married? Because if you’re not, you should seriously consider it.” I think he knew that we must have a DEEP connection for Bobby to be sitting in public talking with me.

Another gentleman quietly asked Bobby if what I was wearing was “traditional.” Bobby quickly said ‘yes’ because, obviously, you don’t get much more traditional than a pilgrim. But we soon realized that he was basically asking if this was my everyday wear and whether I was wearing my outfit for religious reasons. I think it only clicked for him when I introduced myself as “Grace the Pilgrim.” Next year, I’m wearing a name tag.

Delivering turkeys was so great, though, and one of the ladies who we served was SO thrilled with my costume. She started telling me all about her life and we entered into a good conversation.

Another guy bust up laughing in his car when he saw us while at a stop light.

I saw someone sneak a picture of me with their cell phone and grin as they texted it to a friend.

See? I do it for the people.

Life is too short not to spread joy whenever we can. Do something that scares you a little bit this week. I promise is will be worth it.