Thursday, November 15, 2018

why we're skipping thanksgiving

We are only a week away from Thanksgiving! Can’t you just picture it? That perfectly glazed golden brown turkey surrounded by a beautiful table-scape full of pumpkins and gourds and family and friends and all the best fixins. If this has your mouth watering and you heart bursting, if Thanksgiving is your thing, then more power to ya Sister. Get your gobble gobble on. I’m not here to judge. But for me, Thanksgiving never has been and never will be a good thing. 
Without ever really making a conscious decision, we slowly started skipping Thanksgiving. Small decisions at first that eventually turned into us out-rightly rejecting the holiday all together. This Thanksgiving is actually the first time we will even be in the country in years, since we were in Iceland last Thanksgiving and in Mexico the year before that. But even though we will be stateside for the holiday this year, we have no intention of celebrating it. And here’s why? 

It’s kind of Offensive 
I’m all about the meaning behind our modern version of Thanksgiving and that it encourages us to practice gratitude. But at its core, the origins of Thanksgiving and the story that we’ve all been told about the "Pilgrims and the Indians” is more lie than it is fact. Unfortunately, these lies are harmful and often hurtful to an entire group of people. I distinctively remember being in elementary school and watching some of my white classmates run around in their construction paper Indian headbands whooping and hollering like this was all a fun made up game. But, I recognized a distinct difference between this kind of make believe and the kind where I pretended I was a princess. Why did we think this was ok to do? In my mind, the indigenous peoples of this country have suffered enough without us continuing to perpetuate a holiday and stereotypes that wrongfully depict their culture. So no, I’m not on board with celebrating that. Ok sorry, I’m hopping off my political soapbox now. 

No need to stuff yourself 
Come on, don’t lie. We have all spent Thanksgiving Day fasting, simply so that we could eat a bigger meal during dinner. I’ve certainly done it. Skipped breakfast and lunch just at the thought of a huge Thanksgiving plate smothered in gravy. Yes, I knew it was going to make me feel sick. Yes, I knew it would make me nauseated. And yes, I knew I would be suffering from the unavoidable gustatory embarrassment associated with a true American Thanksgiving meal. But I did it anyway. But the traditional food we tend to prepare and the way we use the holiday to justify over-eating is really unhealthy. 

The Effort 
Maybe I would feel differently if our families lived up the street from us, but they don’t. Every year, Tom and I would have to decide whether we were spending Thanksgiving with his family or mine. And that year we visited both families in different states in just 4 days, what we were thinking? I couldn’t help but wonder why we were spending so much time and expense to travel for one dinner. It was exhausting and made absolutely no sense, as we often spent more time in the car driving then we did enjoying time with family. Not to mention, that we would be there to visit for an extended period in December anyway, so why were we killing ourselves to celebrate a holiday we don’t even approve of. 

A Much Needed Break  
December is always the most stressful month of the year for me. It means the end of a semester, the end of the year, and doing all the things associated with traveling for and celebrating Christmas. So the idea of just relaxing at the end of November sounds like a plan to me. Instead of dressing up for dinner, I will be dressing down in comfy cozy sweats taking some time to rest. 

I hope that everyone has a great day on Thursday November 22nd in whatever way you chose to spend it.

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