#Nocap, but Thanksgiving is the worst holiday of the year. There, I said it.
I’m sorry for the holiday discourse, but I’ve been living a lie for far too long. This year, as I watch Thanksgiving football and eat my mashed potatoes, I’ll know that I’m living my truth as a Thanksgiving hater.
Even though there are a million reasons why Thanksgiving is inferior to other holidays, like Christmas or Halloween, it’s important to note that Thanksgiving was horrible from the start. Like Columbus day, Thanksgiving perpetuates a notion that the American Indians and the pilgrims had a grand ole time hundreds of years ago. Although I wish that the Native Americans and the settlers were the best of friends, history knows this to be untrue.
Unfortunately, when I was growing up, I thought that Thanksgiving celebrated peace within the Americas. As a child, I would spend the day coloring pictures of pilgrims and Native Americans side by side, smiling with each other. One year, I remember watching Disney’s “Pocahontas” dressed as, you guessed it, Pocahontas. I remember that I was thankful that the Native Americans decided to help the settlers all those years ago.
Flash forward years later, and I’m horrified to know that the murder and dislocation of thousands of Native Americans was completely glossed over. I’m not saying that I should have known that the pilgrims were murderous savages, but maybe it would be prudent to lay off the “everyone in the new world were friends” propaganda.
Ethically, many people across the country argue that reasonable adults can celebrate the holiday without ignoring the horrors of colonization. After all, it’s true that Thanksgiving was a pause during the battles between the colonizers and the Native Americans. If you ignore the origins of Thanksgiving altogether, it’s just a moment where we can give thanks with loved ones.
I can’t belong to the only family that doesn’t talk politics at the table. I live in a predominantly white, working class small town. You would think that Trump was at my dinner table cutting the turkey the way that people would speak about him at the table.
If I said anything against him when his policies were brought up, it was slander. If I kept quiet, I felt like I was just a cog in his political regime. I felt like there was no winning when he was talked about at the dinner table. Don’t get me started on the awkwardness of the impeachment proceedings. If I hear the words “witch hunt” at my dinner table, I will literally vomit, which would ruin my dinner entirely.
Another part of my Thanksgiving hatred is that there are little to no vegetarian options at most Thanksgiving tables. As I stare at my dinner, I realize that my plate is filled with mac and cheese, mashed potatoes and stuffing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty tasty, but I wish that I didn’t have to carb-load to feel full at Thanksgiving. When is tofurkey going to be a holiday staple? My guess: never.
When the meal is done, a lot of men in my family go and watch football. As a child, I would watch for a second in confusion, hoping that the game would suddenly make sense. But I knew the truth; I hated football and I always will. But because my elders are in control of the TV, I’d find myself watching football instead of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I still mourn all of the Broadway performances I missed because I had to watch kickoffs that I didn’t care about.
The worst part of Thanksgiving is the fact that while the men watch football, the women would clean up the mess. For a while, I was proud of the matriarchy within my family, there was something good knowing that women made this holiday special. These good feelings left when I realized that I was expected to clean as well, while my cousins watched football.
I didn’t understand the concept of sexism back then, but I know that this unfairness was something that stirred my feminist heart. Despite my anger towards this sexist practice, I know that I still clean because it’s unfair that nobody helps. I’m trapped in a system of sexism every Thanksgiving.
Despite the break, I wish that Thanksgiving was a different holiday. There are worse things in life than Thanksgiving, and it still sucks, but my spirits always get brighter as I realize we’re one step closer to Christmas.
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