Once a year we all gather around the table to share a bountiful meal of seasonal bird, dressings, soufflés, pies, and so much more with our extended families in honor of all that we are thankful for. It’s a grand old American-only tradition of the highest order, featuring family, football, and dozing off in easy chairs between trips to the table for more coma-inducing food. What a way to kick off that holiday season! The only thing that I can think of that could possibly be better than these time-tested traditions is—anything else.
Don’t get your panties in a knot and start shouting blasphemy just yet. I love Thanksgiving, in fact it’s one of my favorite holidays. But to me, the classic old-fashioned Thanksgiving, that you no doubt just celebrated, is plain old boring. You gotta mix it up once in a while, learn to live a little, and while it’s still fresh in my mind and yours, I’d like to offer up some alternatives to the traditional themes that have I have exemplified to improve upon this timeless classic day. So maybe next year you can turn your “No, Thanks”-giving, into some clever positive variation of the word thanksgiving that you can’t even think of right now. It’s gonna be that much better.
First thing to go? The turkey. Scratch that off the list right now. Don’t you get enough turkey at Subway for lunch every day? It’s a bullshit bird, and most people only like certain parts of it anyway. If you didn’t cook this ridiculously oversized beast, you wouldn’t have to eat it every day for the next week and a half. It’s the smart call. Don’t try to sell me that, “leftovers are the best part” nonsense either. Day old, reheated food is better than the original freshly prepared meal? You’re an idiot. This year we prepared a few traditional holiday sides (you can’t completely disregard tradition) and got some really nice quality filet mignon, and it turned out fantastic. It’s a special occasion, why not treat yourself to something a little tastier than a meal you could get at a hospital cafeteria?
Now I completely understand that high-end steak is really not cost effective when feeding a family of twent-seven, but that leads me to my next point. Don’t invite so many people over. If you only see someone one day a year, maybe you should try considering this: are they really that important to you? Why deprive yourself, and the small circle of those closest to you (five, max), of a really terrific meal just because you’d feel guilty about not inviting old Aunt Ida and her new man-friend Ron that she met at the assisted living facility's Matlock & Medication meetup last month? Your inner circle is who you really care about. Those old bastards won’t remember you anyway, so forget them.
Here’s a little tip if you get invited to someone else's place for Thanksgiving. You tell your relatives that you will be visiting your spouse’s family that day, and then have your spouse tell their relatives the same thing in reverse. Voila! If you are still single, maybe you should consider attending, on the off chance that your single cousin that you’ve had your eye on all these years is finally willing to give up on conventional relationships, and eventually you can start your own modern traditions, when the rest of your family disowns you.
Next up: football. My personal opinions about the stupidness of the game itself aside (unless the Cowboys are playing the Redskins), you might as well shelf this nonsense. It’s just something to yell at in between naps and food breaks. If you want something to yell at, try your family for disappointing you so much.
My last gripe is with the actual giving of thanks itself. You should be thankful every day of your life, for everything that comes your way. It doesn’t make sense to me to store up all you gratefulness until one autumn afternoon of disgusting gluttony, and then belch your way through a speech about how fortunate you feel. The stains from Grandma’s casserole on your shirt certainly taint the validity of your appreciation for you assistant manager's position at Wendy's.
You’ve got a whole year ahead of you to plan your Thanksgiving to be so much better than it’s ever been. Why not try skipping another family holiday for practice? Christmas is right around the corner, and besides, you just saw all those people anyway.