Last week, I was making chit-chat with a seemingly normal person in a business setting and I
asked what I thought would be a safe open-ended question, “So what are your Thanksgiving
plans?” Boy was I wrong!! I was told of the huge problems their family had with the Holiday due
to the patriarchy, Donald Trump, the latest political unrest and America’s history of treating our
indigenous people poorly…. I walked away feeling as though I had been slimed with a giant
turkey baster of day-old gravy. A week ago, I posted a question on my FB group, what non-food
thing are you most looking forward to? I got a variety of answers, some were time with family,
watching football, others just want the stinking thing to be over.
Now a brief history lesson from our friends at Wikipedia:
“The modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is traced to a sparsely documented 1621 celebration
at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts, and also to a well recorded 1619 event in Virginia.
The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest. The 1619 arrival of
38 English settlers at Berkeley Hundred in Charles City County, Virginia, concluded with a
religious celebration as dictated by the group’s charter from the London Company, which
specifically required “that the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned … in the land of
Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God”
I am not going to get into any of the political arguments for or against the actions of the colonists
in the 1620s, but let’s think about the concept of a day of Thanksgiving for a few minutes. The
original idea was to be grateful for the good harvest, and it was combined with religious
celebration. Fast forward 397 years and what does Thanksgiving look like? It has morphed in a
huge cultural milestone each year, we have dancing Rockettes in a parade with a giant floating
Sponge Bob Square Pants, families reluctantly schlepping cross country, black Friday sales
which now start on Wednesday and things like a Pumpecapple cake because we can’t decide on
which type of dessert we want, so we need them all. (want one here you go https://store.
My first memory of Thanksgiving, I am probably around 5 and dressed up Pilgrim and sitting at
the kid’s table with my younger brother, Adam who was also dressed like a Pilgrim. Some adult
must have thought this was very cute. I really don’t know, nor do I want to ask any more
questions about Thanksgiving since it hasn’t exactly gone well for me lately. The rest of my
Thanksgiving memories as a kid include long drives to a relatives house, eating a great deal of
tan food, watching television and wishing Christmas would come already.
When I was in graduate school, it was the first time I did not go home for Thanksgiving as I was
attending school in Hawaii. I finally understood what the day could be, like something out of
Friends. A bunch of us who also didn’t want to schlep home got together, I have no idea if the
food was any good, but we had a fabulous time. It was a Friendsgiving, (and if it was to be an
episode out of Friends, I so call the Rachel role) and I loved it. Remember that episode? It had
Brad Pitt, where we discover his character had an “I hate Rachel Green Club”? It is a classic.
This was the first year it occurred to me Holidays could be anything we want them to be. If you
do not enjoy your extended families company then do not go there. If you would rather go to
Mexico and drink Margaritas while wearing a bikini, then make sure you bring along TSA
I am not a huge fan of the actual Thanksgiving meal, as I find the turkey to be dry as dirt, and the
carb parade uninteresting. The pecan pie used to be my jam, but I had to write it off for good, as I
know the sugar content would not be a wise decision. Now that I have my own family, we have
our own traditions, which include not doing anything we do not want to do, and I have never
made my kids dress up like Pilgrims for my own amusement.
Tomorrow, we will get serious about the meal soup to nuts and I will help you develop a play
book to avoid the chaos, the cheese platter and the uncomfortable conversations with your Uncle
Fred as to why you still haven’t had children yet.