Ever wondered how normal your Thanksgiving dinner is? Wonder no more! Read on to find our what YOUR Thanksgiving dinner means, whether you're going to be having classic roast turkey or leftover Halloween candy.
It’s that time of year again, when everyone is talking about being thankful for everything and you’re just thinking, “Shut up and let me drink my Cinnamon Latte in peace.” Not surprisingly, going through a divorce around the holidays can be rough. So, I’m here to spread some Thanksgiving cheer that ISN’T cliché and irritating, or so I’m telling myself. Here are your reasons to be thankful—actually for real thankful—for your divorce right now.
- No more drama. For the first time in a long time, you’ll be able to roll through the holidays with a lot less drama, on average, than your past holiday seasons have likely entailed. Time to chill out and actually get a break for once.
- No compromises on Thanksgiving food. It’s been years of accepting the traditional choice of turkey when everyone knows duck is more delicious, and foregoing the corn soufflé because “there’s not enough oven space.” No more! Make what YOU want.
- No need to visit the in-laws. No more obligation to visit anyone on your spouse’s side of things for Thanksgiving or Christmas this year, only the joy of doing so if you actually want to. And no need to buy them all gifts, either.
- Celebrating the way you want to. Feel like spending all your free time drinking mulled wine in your pajamas from mid-November to the New Year? Watching the Home Alone trilogy back to back every weekend day? Making a version of Thanksgiving dinner every Thursday so you can have leftover turkey sandwiches until you’re thoroughly sick of them (just in time for Christmas)? You can do that. And anything else you want
- Holiday shopping—for yourself. The holiday shopping season is well upon us, and now, instead of hemming and hawing over what gift will be appropriate for a partner who probably won’t appreciate it anyway, you can spend equal energy hemming and hawing over what to get for yourself. Go on, treat yourself!
6. Focusing on what matters. With all the mental energy you’ll be saving this year by not fighting with your ex/soon-to-be-ex, you’ll have space to focus on the truly good things about life, your future, yourself, your kids if you have them … Basically, the things that the holidays are actually supposed to be about.
7. Focusing on pumpkin pie. Failing that, you can always bury yourself in some delicious, warm-with-ice-cream-on-toppumpkin pie. Mmmmmm.
8. Only dealing with your own baggage. There are going to be hard moments during the holidays, let’s face it. But now you only have to deal with your own stuff—not yours and someone else’s.
9. No fights over whether or not to send out holiday cards. Some people like doing this, some people loathe it. Those who think couples should do it end up doing most of the work and resenting it. Those who think it doesn’t matter end up frustrated. Now you can do it your way, whichever way that is; this is one holiday fight that’s no more.
10. New beginnings. I saved the best for last. This is the thing to be most thankful for as you go through your divorce: a new start. As the year winds to a close, you are finishing one crappy chapter, and in all likelihood starting the best chapter, of your Use the time to focus on what’s important, who you are, who you want to be, and where you—only you—want to go next.
James J. Sexton
really love Thanksgiving. Sadly, it often gets lost between Halloween and Christmas. Everyone’s all leaves and pumpkins and costumes one minute, then shopping and peppermint bark the next. Poor Thanksgiving gets lost in the shuffle and becomes a speed bump to Black Friday. But it shouldn’t be. It’s a holiday about family and eating (and genocide, which is important to remember) and while it doesn’t quite get the Christmas treatment when it comes to movies and TV, there are tons of really great Thanksgiving-themed films and episodes too good to miss. Get in the spirit by diving into some of these.
The House of Yes
No matter how messed up you think your family is, it is not as messed up as Pascals. This very, very dark comedy takes place during a Thanksgiving hurricane. There’s Kennedy cosplay, family drama and a love triangle that becomes a love square when twins turn out to be closer than a normal person would hope.
ieces of April
Post-Dawson’s, pre-Cruise Katie Holmes plays April, a Lower East Side dwelling twenty-something hosting her first Thanksgiving. Her suburban family makes the trek into the city as April realizes her oven doesn’t work. While things could take a turn for slapstick hijinks, they don’t. Instead this is an intelligent look at a dysfunctional family facing mortality.
Mad About You
The best episode of Mad About You is in fact a Thanksgiving episode. Jamie and Paul are hosting and Murray the dog helps himself to the turkey. They then have to sneak in a new one and it takes multiple tries, and multiple turkeys. I love this imaginary version New York where there are fully cooked turkeys available at the deli. Last year there was not a single walnut available for purchase on all of Manhattan by noon on Tuesday, but in imaginary New York there are no lines at Trader Joe’s and your cornershop has twenty pound cooked and garnished turkeys just waiting for you at 4pm on Thanksgiving day.
The Ice Storm
Things get weird in 1970s Connecticut! Paul comes home from boarding school for Thanksgiving. His parents’ marriage is falling apart and they end up at a key party on the night of a huge ice storm. His sister Wendy plays strange games with the neighbor boys. It’s bleak and beautiful and depressing.
Addams Family Values
This one isn’t Thanksgiving centric, but it does feature a fantastic camp musical about Thanksgiving. Wednesday takes it upon herself to tell the truth about Pilgrim and Native American relations, and then exacts her revenge on the most annoying girl at camp.
Hannah and Her Sisters
If you haven’t boycotted Woody Allen’s movies, this is a great one to revisit. Hannah, Lee and Holly have intertwining lives and intertwining stories. Over the course of two years (beginning and ending on Thanksgiving), their worlds get flipped around because life isn’t always neat and tidy. While a reminder that years can go by quickly and that things in life can change drastically might sound ominous, the opposite is true of this movie. It leaves you feeling hopeful about change.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Neal is on his way home for Thanksgiving but his flight gets rerouted. Desperate to get back in time, he teams up with Del and a slapstick odyssey commences. Steve Martin and John Candy star in this John Hughes film, and that sentence alone is an excellent sales pitch.
So much greatness happens in Seinfeld’s Thanksgiving episode. George buys Jon Voight’s car. Elaine wins a spot under a float for Mr. Pitt, then goes deaf. Jon Voight bites Kramer. Jerry schemes his way into Tim Whatley’s party then ruins a parade float. How much more could you pack into a half hour?
See there is so much good stuff to dig into! And there’s nothing more American that plopping yourself in front of the TV after eating too much. Happy Thanksgiving!
James J. Sexton