ON MAKING YOUR OWN TRADITIONS: WHY WE LOVE THANKSGIVING/CANTO #13

ON MAKING YOUR OWN TRADITIONS: WHY WE LOVE THANKSGIVING/CANTO #13

My wife and I tend to not celebrate a lot of holidays. It’s completely deliberate and by design, and we’re 100% OK with it. Let’s start with Valentine’s Day. Millions of people saving up their “affections” for one corporate-enforced day full of fake-ass sentiments, subpar chocolate, and couples being herded like cattle into restaurants for emotional appeasement dinners. We do the unheard of- GASP!- loving each other every day, doing nice things for each other throughout the year, and we don’t need their shitty, materialistic holiday to show each other we care.

Because nothing says “fuck you” like shitty chocolates and dinner at Applebee’s!

What’s next? Ah, St. Patrick’s Day. How many more excuses do mostly non-Irish white people need to pound cheap beer in celebration of something they don’t even have a cultural tie to? Yeah, the less we talk about St. Patrick’s Day the better, and you can passionately shove your green Bud Light right up your ass. I’ll slam Guinness in the comfort of my own home when I fucking well feel like it, and I don’t need the assholes from your sales department butchering Dropkick Murphys lyrics in my fucking face while I do so.

BUNNIES! UNDEAD DEITIES! MARSHMALLOW EVERYTHING!

Easter? Well, let’s do the checklist: Celebrating the resurrection of a mythical figure by hiding eggs and eating chocolate rabbits? Church? Ugh, do I need to give any more reasons? I’m getting a headache just thinking about it honestly. We’re not religious, I guess you could say we’re atheists but I also like to believe in things other than our small, stupid little world, so whatever- call us what you will, but “Christian” will never be one of those. I’ll save THAT diatribe for another post as this one is supposed to end up heart-warming in some fashion. Fuck Easter, we’ll play along as needed for the kiddos but we stop at the candy portion of the show. The neighbors can stuff themselves into church clothes if they want to, I have better shit to do on Sundays.

Memorial Day gets a pass because it’s one of the few American holidays that isn’t “brought to you by Corporation A”. It’s an opportunity to honor the dead in whatever way you choose, and the dead are decidedly less evil and ignorant than the living so it’s a holiday I can sign off on with glee. Moving on.

Uncle Sam wants YOU to blow shit up.

The Motherfucking Fourth of July. Here’s my stance on our “Independence Day” and you can deal with it however you see fit: This country was founded by people escaping their imperial overlords and religious persecution, who came here and proceeded to immediately BECOME imperial overlords who persecuted people in the name of religion, and who also murdered, enslaved, and subjugated an entire culture of people who were here LONG before them. America was founded by people who also believe in building the riches of the few on the backs of the many, and all this flag-waving, “Red, White, and Blue” bullshit is a fucking joke. We’ll go see fireworks for the kids, but don’t expect me to take my fucking hat off when you sing “God Bless America” or whatever other audio atrocity is being perpetrated upon the throngs. Next fucking holiday.

From there we have Labor Day, and this is one of the good ones. It’s a celebration of everyone who works, it originates with the American Labor Movement, and in our time of shitty and corrupt billionaires we need to be celebrating this one as loudly as possible. They can shove the time cards up their asses for a day. The next immediate holiday is Halloween which is obviously awesome, especially given its Pagan roots and it being so boldly celebrated in this Puritan fucking country. Bring on the fun size Twizzlers, fuck Red Vines, Hail Satan.

Oh yeah, Columbus Day. That piece of crap is wedged in somewhere before Halloween but I never remember when it is cause I don’t fucking celebrate it. Christopher Columbus didn’t discover shit, and it’s just another example of our history books feeding us complete and shameless bullshit for most of our lives. Fuck Columbus Day, and grown-ups don’t even get the day off so DOUBLE fuck Columbus Day.

I can taste the Trader Joe’s corn casserole now.

This brings us to Thanksgiving. This is where our story goes a little astray of what most people think of as a “traditional” Thanksgiving, and we’ve come to look forward to it more than just about any time of year outside of Christmas (seriously, we might as well be elves). You have to remember that we’ve essentially been estranged from both of our families outside of my mother and my wife’s brother & fiancée. You can get caught up on that shit here. That’s it, we either barely speak to the others or haven’t seen them since the days before The Apprentice guy was running the fucking country. Even before that, my wife is English so we didn’t really do much with her side. My sister pretty much locks my mother down by virtue of her living in the same house, so it has been essentially just us (and occasionally the aforementioned brother-in-law/fiancée combo) for our annual Thanksgiving celebration.

I look at Thanksgiving pretty much the same as the Fourth of July. It’s essentially just top-notch American bullshit wrapped up in greeting card emotion. “Hey folks, a few hundred years ago a bunch of white people had a consolation meal with a bunch of people they later killed, pass the stuffing!”, that’s what it boils down to. So, we go a different way. We’ve completely separated our Thanksgiving tradition from the mainstream version of it and we’ve made it something all our own in the process. It isn’t really “about” ANYTHING. It’s about good food, friendship, and love. And cold turkey sandwiches cause FUCK YEAH.

2 A.M turkey sandwiches, you know you do it too.

My wife’s best friend, who has become like a sister to me and is one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever had the pleasure to know, lives WAY too far away from us. She’s in Washington, we’re in Atlanta. She’s got a son, we have our minions, and it’s not easy for us to see each other anything close to what we would in a perfect world. Thanksgiving though, that’s the one time a year we KNOW we’re getting to see her and we look forward to it like our children look forward to Disney movies, candy, or staying up late. She and her son come stay with us for about a week and all is right with the world.

She’s been here for the past few Thanksgivings and THAT has become our tradition. She’s gone through some rough shit of her own the past few years and I’ll not go into someone else’s personal details here- but suffice it to say, we make it our mission to make sure she has a wonderful and relaxing time when she’s here cause she fucking deserves it. We have a rad guest room for her and her son, we fill the fridge and shelves with yummy things, and we just hang out, drink, and laugh. She and my wife go Black Friday shopping and I stay home and play video games while the kids sleep, all done in the glow of a fire that pretty much stays lit from now til February. It’s awesome and I love every second of it. It also cannot go unmentioned that my wife officially makes the MOST WONDERFUL TURKEY IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND. No shit- it’s juicy, tender, and WAY better than turkey has any right to be. Cue salivation. Yum.

Families have a history of sucking anyway.

Blood is NOT what dictates who is your family, and she’s been more like family to us than pretty much all of our blood relatives. Her son calls me Uncle and it’s adorable, and he gets excited about it long in advance just like we do. The whole thing is magical to us, and while it might not be the same as what everyone else does, it is ours. We make sure the house is fully decorated for Christmas before they get here so it’s fully four-alarm festive (again, someone fucked an elf in ONE of our gene pools somewhere), and it is the perfect way for us to kind of kick off the end of what has usually been a fucking crazy year.

So if you’re wondering, yes- the header image of this article IS our Thanksgiving Table which is already set 3 weeks in advance. I told you, we’re fucking excited, did you think I was messing around? Silly human. We do things the way we want to, and given that we’ve planted roots in suburbia I know most people around here probably think we’re weird. They’re all busy obsessing over their grass, their golf swing, and the perfect thing to say after church. Gladhanding, back slapping, bible-thumping suburbia. Then, there’s us. We’re just here for the fucking schools, and it’s nice to NOT have neighbors burning garbage in their front yard but then again- these assholes are mowing and edging CONSTANTLY so I’m honestly not sure which is worse. I might actually miss fire guy. Shoot me now.

“We ARE the weirdos, mister”

We’re the tattooed parents who pull out of the driveway with their music a little too loud. We’re the ones who SLEEP IN on Sundays instead of piling our crew into the car for fucking church. We’re the ones who don’t give a shit about the HOA meetings’ and we’re the ones who DON’T say grace before we cut the fucking turkey. We’re weird, and you know what? We like it that way. The lack of family around just means we do shit on OUR OWN terms, fuck what anyone has to say about it. It means we get to do holidays how we want to, instead of shuffling everyone around across town all god-forsaken day. We might be a small unit, but we’re a STRONG unit, and regardless of how hard shit might be sometimes- I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’m thankful for my weird little life and that’s reason enough for cranberry sauce if I say so myself. I don’t need “their” reasons, I make my own.

If I were to offer any advice to others in similar situations, it would be to embrace whatever YOUR weird tradition is and lean into it. Family fucked off? Go feed the homeless! Worship Satan? Roast your potatoes and arrange them in a big fuckin’ pentagram in the middle of the table! Hate pumpkin pie? FUCK IT, have donuts instead! Hate cooking? DOMINO’S MOTHERFUCKER!

See, you don’t have to buy into the bullshit. You can make the holidays be whatever the fuck you want them to be. We do, and it makes us love them a little more every year. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go channel my “inner Clark Griswold” and figure out my plan of attack for our exterior illumination. Godspeed Ghosties, and if you feel like it leave a comment and share YOUR weirdo holiday traditions. I’m thinking you guys have some good ones!

AJH

A brand new blog/website where this happily married, 30-something father of 2 little minions rants, raves, and reviews rad things. Raw, honest, and riddled with profanity. Get on board and let’s make The Ghost Generation awesome together!http://theghostgeneration.com

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