That time of year is coming around again. The day — sometimes days — where we stress the hell out about where we’re eating, who we’re eating with, what we’re doing for entertainment, what stores we’re going to after the eating and entertainment… Sounds like a headache.
What is Thanksgiving for again?
The history books would have you believe it’s to commemorate the pilgrims chillaxing with their new friends, the indians. That would be total bullshit. The basic gist is that a tribe of Native Americans, that had already encountered Europeans(and spoke some english!) were simply looking for somebody to ally with against their own enemies. The pilgrims were just opportunistic assholes.
So, in essence, you have people coming together to do something out of necessity, not because they want to. It was probably very stressful for all involved. It also ended in disaster for at least half those people.
That sounds so familiar. Hmm…
So anyway, Thanksgiving! Spend time with family! So much fun!
It’s um… It’s not always so much fun, is it?
The whole idea of Thanksgiving has changed over the decades. It’s a day we give thanks for all we have. Hopefully it celebrates a successful fall harvest. We remind ourselves of those who help us and love us and remind them that we care about them and that they are appreciated.
Where we’ve gone wrong is that people now think there’s a fucking obligation to put up with their family, their whole family, even if half of them are a raging bag of dicks.
It’s become commonplace to read stories — survival stories, really — of the terrors of Thanksgiving with the in-laws, or even one’s own family. Some of them end with the acknowledgement that, all horrors aside, it’s well worth it to spend one more Thanksgiving with Grandma. But more and more end with a question: Why do I keep doing this to myself?
That’s a damn good question.
Humans are creatures of habit. Once they are told that this is what is done, they’ll do it forever. It doesn’t matter if it kills them. We’ve always done it this way, after all.
So if the entire clan of four-dozen family members have gone to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving for the past three generations, you damn-well better do it, too. People develop a sense of duty. You suffer for the better of the clan. The question is though, does it actually matter to the clan, beyond an act of obligation?
It shouldn’t, really. If you get along well with your entire family, that’s fantastic. If you get along well with your spouse’s entire family, then you are either Jesus Christ or fictional. Chances are that there are at least a couple of folks on either side of the family tree that you dread encountering.
The question becomes, if you are more stressed out about the people who irk you than you are excited about seeing the people you love, do you really want to do this? The answer eventually should be no, you don’t. That’s okay, and you should listen to yourself.
The time of “you’ll come to dinner and you’ll like it” needs to come to an end. If those people imploring you to come really do love you, they’ll understand if you only want to stop by for an hour. Hell, don’t even stay for dinner. Just visit Grandma and Grandpa, talk to your weird-but-fun uncle, then get out before your asshole cousin Jeb can ruin your day.
You still want a dinner? Cook it your damn self. Hell, have a bowl of cereal if you want. Nowhere in Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation does it say thou shalt devour turkey, or cranberry sauce, or whatever the hell else is supposed to be on the table. Make it a day that reflects what and who you love, what you are thankful for. Remember, that’s what the day is supposed to be about.
Consider that a reminder that you should just be thankful for what and who you have, because seriously, fuck Black Friday, you guys.
I don’t have a problem with going shopping on Black Friday, per se. Most of us get excited for Christmas about ten minutes after Halloween, after all. What I have a problem with is how Black Friday is creeping into Thanksgiving.
First and foremost, the myth of Black Friday having the largest sales of the year needs to die. It’s just not true. Sale prices drop the same amount, or even lower, at other times of the year. Sometimes sales items are made extra cheap to allow for the lower price, meaning a higher chance of them failing early(flat-screen TVs, anyone?)
Still, you can tell people the truth and they’ll just ignore you. Creatures of habit, remember? That’s why the accursed day is now part of the Thanksgiving tradition, and now it’s crawling deep into Thanksgiving itself.
Most major retailers are opening their doors for Black Friday in the early afternoon on Thanksgiving day. Hell, Dollar General opens at SEVEN IN THE MORNING, because what do you mean the robots that we employ have lives? Hilarious!
Look, if you took my earlier advice and have decided to have your own special Thanksgiving, then knock yourself out going shopping. Just make sure you do it after doing the whole holiday shtick. Also remember to be extra kind to the employees that drew the short straw and got dropped into the battle arena.
Gods bless those brave men and women, for they face evils the likes of us could never comprehend.