I want to ask you a question: Why do we celebrate Thanksgiving? A lot of people hate the holiday. It involves a lot of travel to get to a location we’re not too thrilled to be. We have to gather around a big table that we never do and eat a meal that is more than what some people eat in an entire week. As a matter of fact, it’s the only time of the year, you’re expected to eat as much as you can and then some, even if the food isn’t that good.
We do it because each and everyone of us has that one narcissist in your family or circle of friends that has to take the holiday and make it a lot worse than what it is. It’s a feast if nothing else. It’s a giant feast in which people either bring tables together or if you’re a hip family, you’re allowed to sit in a recliner, chair or couch/sofa. Yet, for some reason, this is supposed to be about giving thanks, but it’s always a major headache.
People have to deal with getting up very early to cook the meats and work on the side items like mashed potatoes, yams, and of course, some brocoli cheese casserole deal that is far more expensive to make when you consider all the ingredients. It’s the only time you eat pumpkin pie. And then there’s a pecan pie maybe. But what you really want is a cremne or fruit pie that is sweet and tasty.
And that’s the problem, it’s a “time to eat your peas” meal. No matter what is made, you have to take a serving of it, even if you don’t like it. And then you have to make deviled eggs that you eat by the dozens, even though it’s not all healthy. I mean, we live in a society where people tell us to be healthy and we criticize Lizzo for her size while praising that guy who played Ned in the Spider-Man movies for losing weight, yet we’re always expect to eat like the Gluttony victim in Se7en.
Most Thanksgiving dinners are usually planned by one or two people who are narcissists. They don’t want any input from other people nor do they take into consideration other people’s plans. If you’re close family, you’re expecting to attend even if you can’t. Thanksgiving was never big in my family growing up until after my parents split up. Then, it became something I really didn’t care for mainly because I was always expected to go to my dad and stepmother’s even when I was out of college working on my own.
I was working at a daily newspaper and I had taken Thanksgiving to work so I could get Christmas off. Well, when I told people this, they thought I would work on Thanksgiving and then come right after I got off work. Well no, because it was a three-hour drive and when you’re the only one working at a daily, you work later in the day. It seemed that no one understand why I was working Thanksgiving was to get Christmas off. In my last relationship, one of my ex’s family member did the same thing, but it didn’t matter because people were expecting her at Christmas yet she agreed to work that day to have Thanksgiving off.
The problem is we’ve associated the holidays with school vacations and expect that to continue when we get older. People were surprised I didn’t get two weeks off for Christmas break at my first newspaper job. And then you have people who families expect them to use their PTO/vacation time not just to take Thanksgiving or Christmas off, but many days. And they expect you to spend those many days off work with them.
I’ve heard this is similar with some other people whose parents were born in the 1940s or 1950s, especially since how hard it is to get any time off work now for some employees. What’s even more crazy is how some people refuse to move their meals to the weekends or other dates to accommodate people they want to come. It makes no sense to insist people come if you’re not willing to work with them, but this is the mind of a narcissist. No, they want to have Thanksgiving dinner on this date and if no one else can make it, then it’s not happening.
I think it’s because people want what’s best for them, not others. What’s funny is we’ve created these dates. No one is going to fault you for celebrating Thanksgiving the weekend before or after. Most stores offer deals and specials so it’s not like you’re missing out if you don’t have a meal on the fourth Thurdsday of the month.
I think it’s best summed up in the 1990 movie Avalon, which Barry Levinson made. An extended family meets every Thanksgiving packed into a suburban home as people wait around for Gabriel and his wife, who are always late. They can’t cut the turkey without Gabriel and when they finally decide to cut the turkey because the vast majority of the people are there and starving, Gabriel gets upset. Well, fuck Gabriel for being late. He knew the time. He just wants to be late because it makes him more important.
The scene is right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EEl7uV6YQU
But it’s really an issue that people have been forcefed this outdated archaic Norman Rockwell nuclear family idea of Thanksgiving in which the women of the family (wives, grandmothers, aunts and sisters) cook the meal what the man of the house cuts the turkey. And the narcissist is the one who cuts the turkey. Of course, times have changed and gender roles have changed.
I also often think of Peppermint Patty getting on Charlie Brown’s case in the classic A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving where Patty more or less insists that Charlie make her and the friends she’s invited a huge meal. And Charlie and his family are going to his grandmother’s house. It’s fucked up but this happens a lot. People always act like this around the holidays because they have to control the environment. I’ve known some people who never go to other people’s house because they know they can’t assert themselves over someone else.
Ever invited people to your house for a holiday dinner and they don’t even put the dishes in the fucking sink? They don’t help clean up anything. They don’t take out the trash. They sit in the best spot they can and control the TV. And they stay too fucking long than they should. Yet, if you were to go to their house, you’re still belching your dessert while trying to getting every scrub of trash off their floor because they’re mad “no one is helping them clean up.”
I know there’s No Nut November and No Shave November, but I would propose a No to Narcissist November. There’s no reason for you having to max out your credit cards, travel somewhere you don’t want to go to spend time with people you really don’t like. I was almost hoping Covid pandemic, especially the first year, might make some people realize that it’s better just knowing your loved ones are doing well.
But no! It seems like all the pandemic did was turn the narcissists into bigger assholes.
My problem is I don’t like going to people’s homes unless I have a ballpark figure of how long I’m going to be there. I understand that sometimes there’s about an hour or so you’re going to have to spend visiting with people, then another hour eating, then another hour resting and then cleaning up as soon as you can with maybe another hour. That’s no more than five hours at the most.
But what I hate is when you go somewhere and realize it’s going to be a few hours before you eat and then afterwards, people want you to stay late into the night. Why? I was at one Thanksgiving dinner where someone had a mountain of sales papers for us to look through to pick out something we might want for Christmas. It was a nice gesture, but I didn’t know the person hosting actually expected us to sit up all night with them until 3-4 a.m. when they were going to Black Friday sales.
And this was before they started doing sales on Thanksgiving night. So, then, the same person is exiting stage left like Snagglepuss so they can get the good deals. Needless to say, they weren’t hosting that year so any clean-up was done by the rest of the people.
But even if you’re not into that whole Black Friday mess, some people expect you to stay with them during the holidays as if they didn’t learn anything from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Personally, I think this should only be when you’re younger visiting family. Once you get to your later 20s, it’s time to start booking a hotel/motel. Sleeping on a couch full of beer farts were people were watching the football games less than an hour earlier is not my idea of great lodging.
I mean, it’s time to start telling people “no.” There’s no point in being miserable during the holiday season just to give someone else a sense of power and control. The world isn’t going to end if someone doesn’t come visit from college, their military assignment or where they work to have one meal with you. All you’re doing by constantly nagging people about visiting during the holidays when their work, schooling or even finances prohibit it is just driving a deeper wedge in your relationship.
I also think it’s foolish to guilt people by using elderly relatives. If it’s Uncle Elden’s 83rd Thanksgiving, Uncle Elden ought to be happy that he got to spend 83 years on this planet. A lot of people have lost loved ones (like myself) at a much young younger age. Using this tactic is disgusting, tasteless, mean and offensive. Some people who lost loved ones maybe just want to be alone or away from family. We need to respect that.
Also, traditions change and we need to change with them. If someone’s child or grandchild is in a relationship, no matter if it’s serious or just getting started, we should let them spend the holiday with this person’s family or be welcoming with open arms if they are invited to ours. And here’s a novel idea, why not combine meals? Why should married couples have to split their time between one set of parents if they all live close nearby? Maybe it’s because there’s always a narcissist who wants to have the holiday dinner their way or the highway.
The concept of “Home for the Holidays” was created by a bunch of archaic, sexist, racist, misogynistic people who most likely peaked in junior high and went on to sell insurance or teach P.E. who never achieved more. They take the same vacations each year to the same destinations. They have no excitement or thrill in their lives. So, they want to make people who did get out of the towns in which they grew up feel like they’re not as important. It’s your standard Hallmark holiday movie in which you’re either the woman who has a career outside of the house, Heavens to Murgatroyd, or the male who works a job that isn’t the standard 9-5. You’re not the villain. The person who expects you to confirm to their ways is the villain. You get to decide how your story goes, so make it a good one.
What do you think? Please comment.