The idea behind Thanksgiving is nice, that we take time to be thankful for what we have. In this corner of the world, we are safer from most things than people are in the majority of the corners of the world (except guns in the hands of solitary citizens, of course). Thanksgiving is a good idea, except that when I was in Elementary School I was using crayons to shade in outlines of pilgrims and Native Americans. And after explaining how the Native Americans helped the pilgrims, our teachers did not point out how racist the pilgrims were or how they kicked out all the Native Americans and passed diseases to them and etc etc etc. I think it’s time that we stop showcasing that story of Thanksgiving, not because the Native Americans who fed the pilgrims weren’t awesome. They sound super awesome! We need a new story because we need a whole story, not a rose-colored glasses story about how coolio the pilgrims were. Some were, probably. Some cut off noses.
By now you’re probably thinking, “Shit, Kayla! This isn’t your regular tone!” Well, tough. We’ve gotten through the roughest part. And the subject matter below is some that I find quite cheery. I have some fun (pretty damn serious, for this blog) ideas of how to take back your Thanksgiving. Ok, they aren’t all serious. Or totally serious. They’re all partially serious. This is a comedy blog and I’ve gotten most of my ranting out of the way. But, there will be no making of “feather” headbands out of construction paper at this Thanksgiving. I don’t care how isolated in whiteness your community is, or the place you were raised. You have the internet. You know better. Ok. Now I’ll be funny. (But still fairly serious.)
Since the shitty colonial aspects of this holiday are still vibrant and intrusive, we’ll start by cutting out all pilgrim and Native American iconography. If you read the text above, this is a “doi” moment. You may keep the turkeys. They are cute. As are pumpkins, fall leaves, and all those autumnal hues. But why not include images that capture our commitment to making this holiday solely about giving thanks. Put up pictures of your family, your friends, the things that you’re thankful for. If you’ve got one, now might be a good time to break out your vision board and hurry along that manifestation! If you want fun icons for your festivities, I offer you Taylor Swift (a symbol of friendship thanks to her ever-talked about “girl squad’) and the yoga-pants-wearing mindfulness gurus who tend to gravitate towards teaching yoga or soul cycle. Today is a good day to wear yoga pants. Yoga pants → mantras → gratitude → they also stretch. Smoothie bowls for your Thanksgiving feast? Yes, please! Pass the tofurkey!
The Tequila Turkey Brunch
Get it? Like Tequila Mockingbird? Get it? And it’s Thanksgiving? Turkeys? This isn’t about correcting an offense, it’s really just to fill in a gap for all of us non-runners. What are you supposed to do on Thanksgiving morning when all your athletic, energetic friends and family go run in a bloody race? Drink Bloody Marys, of course! If we’re revamping this holiday, making it relevant to our day and age, I can’t see how we can do it without drinking before noon. We’re America. It’s what we do, so long as there’s juice involved! And I’ll take a mimosa bar over a chilly, sweaty jog any day! I also like this idea because if you aren’t one of the Friendsgiving crowd, this could give you a chance to see your crew before heading off to your Mom/Uncle/Grandma/Brother’s house to face your family! I’m a firm believer that friends are family, so I’d like the opportunity to gather with them on this holiday and share pancakes and breakfast booze.
Christmas Springboard Eve
If we make this a practice, can we please get better as a nation at keeping Christmas in its season? Thanksgiving, we all know, has mostly become a springboard for the big guy in red. The literal minute that Thanksgiving ends, malls open around the country with “Hey mom, come buy all your gifts now” level sales. So let’s make it official for all of us, including us saner ones who stay home. Hey, some lady died by getting trampled at one of those sales, I’m allowed to say saner! Anyways, when the clock strikes midnight, pump up some Bing Crosby. Pour some spiked cocoa. If you missed boozy-gratefulness-brunch with your framily, invite them over now. Let yourself melt away into the pure bliss of Christmasing, or holidaying in whatever way you enjoy! I am not on that red-cup-outrage crew. I only address Christmas because it is the holiday that I celebrate and the one that malls start abusing before we’re even done passing out Halloween candy. If you ever invite me to a celebration of your winter holiday, I will be there with bells on :)
Specific, Heartfelt Gratitude.
I tentatively titled this one “get offline,” but changed my mind because FB Messenger and email are just more practical for some people. And no, this is not a funny one. On Thanksgiving it has become a practice to broadcast our thanks on Facebook, Twitter, Snapstory, whatever. I think that’s nice, but broadcasting is just that, broad. Here’s an idea that I think we could all benefit from, and with it we could spread some very real love. Take some notecards or stationery or greeting cards or printer paper. Pick some people, maybe 3, maybe 20, who have really been supporters, helpers, lovers, and advocates for and of you. Then write it to them. Tell them. Give them that tangible thanks, that direct thanks, that thanks that does not dissolve in the sea of like-typed status updates. Giving your thanks in this way will go beyond making someone’s day, it will make them see how much you appreciate them. And maybe make them see how much they do for you, if they don’t quite realize the vastness of their love in practice. It would be a nice thing to do. Not funny, just nice.
I apologize if that switch from super serious to fairly silly to simply sentimental was too much for your tastes. But then, that’s me. This is me, on this blog. And I’ve come to decide that if I don’t say the serious things that I feel deeply, don’t stand up for what I believe in and instead expect others to do it, if I avoid certain topics because it’s not my privileged white girl place, then I will be part of the problem. Yes, I am a privileged white girl. But that doesn’t change how much I love and care for people of every race and sexual preference, those who I am lucky enough to call friends and those who I’ll never know. There are big ways and small ways that you can help progress the world we live in. Above are some small ways. Don’t be afraid to address the big ways.
And at the end of my fiery tirade, marbled with love and silliness, know that I am grateful for all of you.