10 Things I’m Not Thankful For This Thanksgiving

I’m extremely thankful for food and shelter and my family (in small doses). With the effects of the recent hurricane still taking its toll on many, it’s hard not to look around at what we have and feel grateful that, even though we don’t have extra money for luxuries, we can clothe our family and be warm on a cold night. And I’m all for sitting around a table and acknowledging those things genuinely and frequently. As a mother of one, I strive to teach my daughter about being grateful for all that we have each and every day.

But personally, I have long thought of the tradition of Thanksgiving as being a bit, well, ass-backwards. Though I continue to celebrate it, as my family always gathers at this time, I do feel that any other day of the year (when we aren’t being told to say “thank you” by a day on the calendar) might be slightly more appropriate to meaningfully give thanks. This year, like all the others, I’ll stuff my face with turkey and cranberry sauce and tell those around me that I truly appreciate them. And I’ll mean it! But that doesn’t change the fact that the holiday itself is kind of absurd. Ironically enough, the forced gratitude that we practice on the third Thursday in November seems to bring to the surface a number of things I really am not thankful for this Thanksgiving.

The fact that we even celebrate a day we slaughtered Native Americans and stole their land. Saying “oh, by the way, thanks soooo much!” doesn’t exactly seem like enough, ammiright? If we’re going to have a holiday to mark this historic injustice, maybe it should be something more like “Profusely Apologize Day” or “Not Being Gluttonous Day.” (Photo: nicobatista/Shutterstock)

Lots and lots of family time over the next month. I like my family enough. But I happen to live five minutes from them and see them weekly. Thanksgiving marks the beginning of about ten different family gatherings between my husband’s family and mine. There have been several years when we’ve gone three or more different places on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas and then I balled my eyes out at the end of each night. In fact, thinking about it now is really stressing me out… (Photo: Dmitriy Shironosov/Shutterstock)

Being five pounds heavier and hung-over come Friday. I only drank so much because of my discomfort with certain family interactions and ate so much because I was half in the bag. Now it will take me a month to return to my pre-t-giving weight and 24 hours to be headache-free. Awesome. (Photo: imageegami/Shutterstock)

Making the GD turkey. I hate touching it, putting my hands in it and pulling things out when I’m not even sure what they are. Wrapping its little legs up like a hostage is possibly the creepiest part. When it’s time to slather it in butter I’m so grossed out I want to puke and maybe go back to my early high-school vegetarianism. I’ve done it before. I can do it again. (Photo: Jon Le-Bon/Shutterstock)

It’s the exact same food every. Single. Time. I’m finally learning to enjoy cooking and I love making new recipes with healthy twists! Each year I make suggestions- how about red-skinned mashed potatoes? Some kind of new pie!? “NO. Stick to the basics!” I’m told. “People like tradition!” (Photo: Nayashkova Olga/Shutterstock)

Once, when I was pregnant, I threw up a lot of Thanksgiving food from a moving car. The memory is vivid. (Photo: siamionau pavel/Shutterstock)

Doing dishes while in a food coma. They are seriously never-ending . Why did I volunteer for this and how is the dish-washer broken? Can we please go home yet? The booze is starting to wear off. (Photo: Vasina Natalia/Shutterstock)

An insane amount of leftovers. Why did we make so much food? I know it’s a big day for football but did we get mixed up and think the entire NFL was coming for dinner? I’ll be eating this for at least a week before I finally toss a dried up turkey carcass into the trash and ban carbs for LIFE. (Photo: Brooke Becker/Shutterstock)

My yearly therapy costs just tripled and we’ve got a whole new bag of issues to delve into. Is this family really mine/why am I the only normal one? (Photo: Ambrophoto/Shutterstock)

That the day after Thanksgiving happens to be Black Friday. So in this country, not only do we say thanks for something we took without asking, we also trample each other in malls and stores nation-wide only a few hours after bowing our heads and giving thanks. Dude. Not cool. (Photo: concept w/Shutterstock)
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    • Huh?

      Isn’t Thanksgiving every 4th Thursday of November (not 3rd)? Googling…
      Yeah! http://www.when-is.com/thanksgiving.asp

      Also, are you from California? Just curious because according to Urban dictionary, it is usually the west coast people who say “balled my eyes out” instead of “bawled my eyes out”.

      I do like the list though :) The same menu every year does seem tiresome! Why not add an extra side? Do you at least get to switch up the cocktails?

      • http://avatarsankh.blogspot.com/ Xyzzy

        I’m from California, and everyone I’ve ever known spelled it correctly as ‘bawled,’ so my assumption was that the author can’t spell.

        Besides, what she describes isn’t normal for Californians… Few of us even live in the same city as relatives, let alone five minutes, and people here would refuse invites, leave, or stand up for themselves when it comes to having too many outings or dealing with problematic relatives; one has to be pretty deeply dysfunctional to handle it the way she did.

    • chickadee

      To be fair, we don’t celebrate a day that we slaughtered the Native Americans. This was a celebration by a specific, smallish group of people and it continued the British tradition of celebrating the harvest. You shouldn’t conflate this tradition with the shameful history of massacre and exploitation.

    • http://avatarsankh.blogspot.com/ Xyzzy

      Holy cow, whine much?

      1. If the gatherings stress you out, don’t go to as many.

      2. If you meet with your family so often that getting together for some relaxed fun stresses you out, again, cut back on your everyday get-togethers, for Pete’s sake, and add some non-everyday activities to Thanksgiving.

      3. If you’re eating the food once a year, there’s not much of a chance to get bored with it; it sounds more like you’re the spoiled sort that isn’t happy with food unless it has exotic “twists” to it.

      4. If you don’t like prepping the turkey, have someone else do that part.

      5. If you have relatives that you don’t like to interact with, don’t invite them, walk away, or write to a friggin advice columnist about how to politely tell them to shut up. Handle it like an adult; you’re not a little kid dragged there by mommy and daddy.

      6. Is your entire extended family too pampered to like leftovers? If not, let the ones that like leftovers take them… If so, then if you’re so into creative cooking twists, learn to do interesting things with them; it’s not THAT hard.

      7. Okay, so once upon a time you threw up. BFD. If you were *that* traumatized, you’re right, you do need therapy — or to be shown how pathetically whiny you sound.

      So on and so forth. In summary, try handling the holiday like a full-grown adult, instead of like a spoiled pre-teen being dragged there by her parents and forced to be nice to great-aunt Edna when she pinches your cheeks for the tenth time. Sheesh…

    • http://avatarsankh.blogspot.com/ Xyzzy

      We *aren’t* celebrating a day we slaughtered people. There are two facets to this:

      1. The Pilgrims arrived to discover unharvested corn because the local tribe had been
      killed by a nasty plague now believed to be leptospirosis. This Slate article explains it better than I can.

      2. Thanksgiving is ultimately about celebrating one of the ideals we’re raised to see as a
      core part of our nation’s identity; whether the story we’re taught as kids is technically real or a myth isn’t as important as the positive messages it can convey. I’m a cynic to the core, but I’d certainly rather celebrate ethical ideals (and encourage the next generation to believe in them as well) than declare them invalid due to historical inaccuracy.

    • Steph

      Talk about first world problems. Sheesh.