Hallelujah Highway

Celebrating the Journey

I hate Thanksgiving~ Rae

on November 19, 2012

This year’s Thanksgiving festivities are going to be held at my house. My wonderful husband has made all the arrangements. I barely have to lift a finger. He is slaughtering the turkey on Tuesday (yep- that’s right-he is so excited to have raised a 37 pound turkey). We have 2 hams in the freezer from a pig we also raised ourselves. Everyone invited is bringing a dish to share.  We are having close to 30 people over:  including my husband’s family, whom I adore, some excellent friends and even some friends of friends we heard didn’t have anywhere to spend this holiday. We firmly believe the more the merrier and everyone is welcome. There is just one small little hitch in this well thought out, meticulously made plan.

 I hate Thanksgiving.

I know that sounds almost blasphemous or even anti-American, but hear me out. It’s not the concept of thanks-giving; it’s the actual day I can’t stand. Of course, we should always be thankful, giving, reflective and loving, BUT does that ever happen on that day? I mean you clean your house from top to bottom only for it to be thrashed within minutes. You cook enough food for an army and people always have to complain- they don’t like olives in THEIR potato salad and “I only like real mayonnaise not miracle whip” or the turkey is too dry, etc etc etc.  Plus, it seems like family drama ALWAYS rears its ugly head. Someone is always angry with someone else there and the rest of us just run around pretending we can’t feel the tension. One year my brother and I had a huge fight about mashed potatoes- I am NOT KIDDING- mashed potatoes. I ended up leaving early in tears. We all eat gluttonous amounts of food and then sit on the couch to passively watch TV. My stomach hurts just thinking about it. In fact this year my parents have decided to forego the usual fun-filled above mentioned activities and are going to spend Thanksgiving in Vegas, because nothing is more American than apple pie in front of a slot machine.

Am I the only one?

I realize it’s the perception of what Thanksgiving should be like that is my problem. I believe it must BE a certain way, but life certainly never lets it work out perfectly. In addition, I am convinced I am the only person whose day doesn’t turn out the way it’s supposed to and the rest of America is living some sort of Norman Rockwell fantasy. That makes it even more painful- why doesn’t it work out for me like it does for the rest of the world???? The problem must be ME.  On top of that, the real history of Thanksgiving is equally filled with misconceptions, misunderstandings, fallacies, lies and tragedy. America has glamorized the day as a celebration of the Pilgrims and Indians rejoicing together, but of course that is just another lie our textbooks told us. It’s almost humorous (in an ugly way) to think of what we tell children about that time period and what actually happened. We build Thanksgiving up and up so that there is no way for all the expectations to be achieved.

The best Thanksgiving I remember is one a few years back when we went to my husband’s Aunt Becky’s house (Part of the reason it was so good was also because it was at someone else’s house – I ain’t going to lie!). She had the whole thing organized and planned – except for one teeny-tiny little thing. She had forgotten to defrost the turkey early enough and she couldn’t cook it. She was devastated and sobbing when we arrived. For a little while it seemed as if that Thanksgiving would go down as another is a long line of holidays that to this day make me cringe. But then her husband jumped up and shouted, “I got this” and grabbed his keys and left. Uncle Scot came back 20 minutes later laden down with El Pollo Loco. We ate chicken, beans and tortillas on paper plates and laughed the whole time. It was wonderful.

So the problem obviously comes down to expectations and reality. What do you want to get out of Thanksgiving- an impeccable meal or even a picture-perfect day? Then good luck to you because there is no perfection.  How about a day where we, as Jay Z so eloquently put it, “gotta get, that, dirt off your shoulder”? Maybe I need to let go of the fantasy of faultlessness and the desire to have a day where nothing goes wrong. Instead, how about I revel in a day where I take it as it comes: frozen turkey, runny mashed potatoes, crazy relatives etc. How about a day where I laugh at the mishaps and brush off the complaints? I should play on the floor with the children and then remember truly how much I have to be thankful for. Maybe the commercialism and historical fallacy of Thanksgiving is wrong. BUT what I make of that day is up to me.

And Wine. I definitely think wine will help.

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