Thursday, November 24, 2022

The True Meaning of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 2020 cheeseball
I've received some flack recently about my dislike for turkey and refusal to make it for Thanksgiving. As if an obese flightless fowl on an overburdened dinner table is what the holiday is all about. Just the other day, we ran into my husband's cousin, who questioned us on our holiday plans. I piped up about eating charcuterie and chicken legs on the coffee table while watching football and he acted as if I had uttered the most blasphemous statement ever spoken. He implied that our difference, more specifically MY difference, was a bad thing (and always had been). Because I didn't fall in line with the majority of the country in celebrating with rote tradition, I was wrong. But he's always seemed to view me as an aberration on my husband's part, and while his judgement could have hurt, if I let it, because he was criticizing me as much he was sneering at my desire to actually celebrate the holiday rather than force myself to do something I didn't enjoy, I actually felt a little smug. (As I am wont to do.) 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to have a stress-free holiday, eating food that one wants to eat with people one wants to spend time with. There's something to be said, of course, for large family gatherings--if one has a large family. But if one has a family of three, then the pressure of impressing relatives that one doesn't see often is off. Honestly, isn't the Thanksgiving holiday really about being thankful? About appreciating what we have? I have to think that large gatherings with turkey and all the usual sides involve at least a little resentment, at least on the part of the people who are preparing the meal (traditionally the women). I realize that this is the 21st century, and family structures are different--at least for us coastal elites--but I imagine that there are still plenty of households where the women work their asses off while the men belch beer at the Lions and Cowboys. Cuz that's 'Murica, right? And I'm not saying that's wrong, if that's what people want to do. What I want to do is enjoy a day off from my job, eating what I want to eat, with the two most precious people in my life (three, if you count the dog), thanking the cosmos for loving and being loved. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, however you plan to celebrate.

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