Last week, I wrote about Thanksgiving and how I love it. Just in case you’re wondering, I’m the sort of cockeyed optimist and holiday hussey who was very nearly assaulted by her co-workers one fine December 24th for still being in a good mood while working full time in retail over the holidays. And so it saddens me when I see situations like Scarlett’s:
I am a notorious whiz with a pumpkin, apple, or mince pie. I can churn out perfect cranberry sauce without blinking an eye. And I am expected to produce these items for my family every Thanksgiving. But god forbid I actually EAT any of them. I start getting the “don’t you think you’ve had enough” whispers from my mother before I’ve finished my first helping of stuffing.
It’s a sad truth, but a truth nonetheless, that a lot of people have good reason for hating this time of year, and that way too many of those reasons revolve around two things: family and food.
So what’s a superfantastic big girl to do when family makes holiday feasts one more reminder of her ‘failure’ to be thin?
If you’re Scarlett, or if you share her situation of being the go-to cook cum whipping girl, I suggest you start by not cooking for your family anymore. Cook by all means, but for someone else. There’s no reason to cook for people who will punish you for eating what you’ve spent all that time and effort making. And believe me, if they miss your cooking enough, they can learn to hold their tongues long enough to stop nagging you for one day. Maybe even longer!
If they never learn, then take a page from Katie’s book and create youself a new family:
This year will be the first year I’ve not spent Thanksgiving at home, with my biological family, which is probably good for them and me. Instead, I’ll be spending it with my fabulous roommate, and his partners, both of whom are dear friends of mine. Somehow, the four of us managed to form a family, and the love between the three of them, and their shameless, boundless affection for me did give me renewed hope for the idea of “family”–and plenty to be thankful for.
And then there’s the sad plight of kayaitch:
Well thanksgiving HAD always been one of my favorite holidays until I had my DD. DD dislikes turkey. And stuffing. And gravy. And yams, no matter how they are cooked. And cranberry sauce. And pumpkin pie. And green beans, if you please.
I’m definitely a big fan of trying to make sure there’s something on the table to please everyone around it, but there’s accomodating known tastes, and then there’s denying the majority for the sake of one person. Growing up, I hated ham. The rest of the family loved it, and my mother usually made it for Christmas dinner. Since I was not usually a terribly picky eater and rarely made a fuss about what I didn’t like, my mother would make me a lamb chop or chicken breast for Christmas dinner, but the rest of the family ate ham and I was expected to deal with that. I did.
So kayaitch, don’t deny yourself and everyone else around you for the sake of one picky eater. It’s just not worth it. If she hates everything that much, she also has the option to follow the superfantastic example of Katie and do something gloriously non-traditional:
But this year, my friends and I are going to a fabulous Thai restaurant for Thanksgiving. Who needs turkey when you’ve got close friends and fabulous vegetarian-friendly food?
So whether your problem is that your family fails to respect you, you’re dealing with picky eaters, or you happen to be allergic to tradition, there’s still a way to have a good time for Thanksgiving. All too often we allow traditions and biological connections to tie us in knots when we don’t need to. When we stop looking at what we’re ‘expected’ to do and start paying more attention to the spirit at the heart of holidays, it’s easier to find ways to love them.
It’s worth it just to watch those still shackled by expectations blow their tiny minds trying to figure out how you do it.