What To Be Unthankful For This ThanksgivingNovember 25, 2011 No Comments
So I don’t have bad karma every Thanksgiving I must say I love the spirit of this holiday. The idea is similar to Christmas and Easter in that you get together with family you may have not seen in awhile to catch up, eat and celebrate some time off work.
Now that I have pacified the gobble-gobble gods, let’s keep it real. For many women who are suckered into the lion’s share of cooking, cleaning and a strong shot of self-sacrifice, Thanksgiving can really blow.
First of all, Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that is not even close to a real holiday. Actually, it’s more work than usual. Unless you’re the football fan and your husband is a domestic god, you’re screwed. It’s like Hallowe’en but with the division of labour in place of ghosts, goblins and ghouls. Much scarier. Let’s take a peek at what a traditional Thanksgiving might look like:
The preliminaries: I bet you were thinking that at least you could be thankful that Thanksgiving is only one day. You have to suck it up and slave away in the kitchen until Thanksgiving to do you part. So what? Well, it’s not just one day. You’re required to do a huge grocery shop if you’re the one hosting the dinner. It must be complete with mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, corn, broccoli, cranberries, freshly warm rolls, stuffing, gravy, turkey and don’t forget the homemade pumpkin pie (à la mode of course). Preparing for the meal is merely the beginning.
A thankless job: By the time all the food is ready, you’re probably feeling pretty spent. Your blood, sweat and tears have gone into the feast and now you want to share in the glory in front of all your family and friends. But no. Your husband gets it all when he carves the bird. It’s a macho man tradition that refuses to die. The turkey and supreme carving skills of your man outshine everything you accomplished during the day. It’s almost like he hunted and killed the turkey himself or something. Your sacrifice is only worth a few passing — and often perfunctory — comments in praise of your mad cooking skills.
Remember to watch your waist: It’s a holiday where you’re supposed to indulge and binge. Eating is part of being merry with the family. But you may be experiencing some inner turmoil. What about your diet? Surely it can go out the window for a day. Not. Although sometimes we wish it would, especially as we stuff our face with spoonfuls of stuffing, the pressure to be thin doesn’t subside. Eating doesn’t quiet our skinny-obsessed brains. The consequence? A bowlful of guilt.
More wine, less football, please: I thought I could at least take solace in the litres of alcohol that are freely flowing during the day. Alas, when you’re running around all day chopping, baking, broiling and steaming, it’s hard to even finish that glass of wine you poured two hours ago. You realize during dinner that you must at least down a few glasses, if only to cope with the football (that’s still on, by the way). Maybe you like football. I don’t want to be presumptuous. But even still, you have the kitchen to clean. Overall, it’s depressingly anti-climatic. There goes my buzz.
Turkey day turned materialism: I suppose you could forego shopping on Black Friday, have a bubble bath and feel relieved that Thanksgiving is officially over (except for all the lingering turkey remnants in your fridge now calling your name), but the reality is that millions of Americans go shopping on this day. We’re bombarded with commercials telling us to take advantage of SALES. But in reality, actually braving the shops is worse than watching football the day before. If you’re bent on shopping until you drop (literally), you can even start at midnight on the eve of Thanksgiving (unless the tryptophan has left you lying sluggishly in a lump of self-pity). Really, it’s a simple shift. One day we’re voicing our thanks for what we have and the next we’re succumbing to the demands of consumerism so we want more and may never actually be satisfied. It’s like our unquenchable appetite for turkey on special occasions.
Obviously there are exceptions to this scenario. I just can’t help thinking it’s a holiday that (although maybe not purposely) reinforces gender roles popular in the 1950s. Where men get to enjoy holidays women have to work to ensure everyone else’s happiness.
Then again, someone has to make sacrifices for the good of the group. But can’t we switch it up?
Come to think of it, if I must still work to appease the turkey god, I’m thankful for all those men who do help their wives with dinner or the dreaded cleanup, and especially those who don the chef hat themselves.
Contact the author here: email@example.com