Thursday 26 November 2015

American Thanksgiving Dinner Survival Game

Thanksgiving in Canada (October) is important but not as important as Thanksgiving in the USA
seems to be. To the best of my knowledge, we don't have films showing Canadians jetting from one side of the country to the other just to partake of turkey and pumpkin pie.

No doubt the internet is full today of Americans anticipating the horrors of having to eat with their own extended family. One might argue that this is an example of pop culture attacking the family so as to break it up into individuals who are more easily exploited by Madison Avenue and the government.

That said, not all families are delightful, and sometimes the agony of family life is prolonged by a woman who wants people to say at her funeral that it was she who managed to keep the [self-devouring] family together. My perennial advice is that if you have been miserable at every family Thanksgiving dinner for the past ten years, you will almost certainly be miserable at this one too, so you shouldn't go. Either have a wonderful pot-luck Thanksgiving dinner with friends or volunteer to serve Thanksgiving supper to the homeless.

Your no-show may make your mother cry, but this might be the "hit bottom" moment she needs to finally admit that not all is well in Dodge.  On the other hand, if the problem for the past ten years was you, your absence will be the removal of a cloud for everyone else. Let us humbly consider the possibility.

If you have a pretty-good family, with a bearable level of grumbling and carping and throwing things across the table, then naturally I hope my American readers go to their traditional family Thanksgiving Dinner. Of course, if relations come from afar, there may be a fair bit of catching-up and questions about how everyone is and, as people enjoy relationship gossip, if you are in one.

If you are Single, this puts Thanksgiving in the same category as Mother's Day, when your parish tortures you for being Single-and-Childless, and Valentine's Day, when you torture you for being Single-and-Childless. This time it's your family's turn--and it's a sit-down dinner so you can't escape!

The only thing to do is to turn the dross of remarks about your Single status into the gold of POINTS for the annual Seraphic Singles/Edinburgh Housewife American Thanksgiving Dinner Survival Game. Please pay strict attention to whatever your relations say concerning your Single status, including queries as to when you're going to marry your boyfriend, and give yourself a point for each remark. (Nota Bene: If you are actually engaged you are not eligible for this game. You can give your sisters a point each by shoving your ring in their faces in and saying "LA!" in an exaggerated Lucy-Steele voice.)

Please report your score in the combox below, regaling us with the comments you remember. Naturally I myself am in Britain and so will be in bed before the west coast sits down to eat. However, I will hang out with the computer when I get back from Polish class this evening, so if you need to vent, I will be here until 4 PM San Francisco time, which is 7 PM in Buffalo, is it not?

Have the happiest Thanksgiving you can manage, and be as kindly as possible to your relations, especially the ones in the kitchen who might need you.  Above all, remember that you are not alone, and that from sea to sea your fellow Singles are being asked if they've found a fella yet and when are they getting married.

And a point from Cousin John....

Update: The M.Div. is now IN for anyone who might need to vent.

Update 2: All quiet on the western front this year. The M.Div. is going to bed!


  1. I am not really qualified to comment, living in Aus, however we did celebrate Thanksgiving (the main excuse being my sister wanted to make pumpkin pie, which is apparently sweet, and very popular - and her boyfriend is American).
    We had roast chicken, but we named him 'Turkey' - to eat turkey before Xmas is a cardinal sin in our family. Good gravy, sweet potato mash, salad and pumpkin pie.
    There were five of us, we ate outside, with a lovely decorated table, herbs and berries for flowers, menus, and a bright yellow tablecloth. Pumpkin pie is not too bad (though of course we're not entirely sure how authentic it was.
    And we were thanking a God for Americans, till we were reliably informed that Thanksgiving is giving thanks for lots of things, not just Americans. And we have no idea why it is celebrated on a Thursday, however we had a lovely meal, and started listing off all the things in life we're thankful for.
    Having no extended family to make comments, does it count that during the last week I've been asked once if I was married, once if I had children and once if I was a l*sbian. And all of these at work.

  2. (Excuse the spelling/grammar mistakes! 'a God' yikes!!)

  3. That doesn't count for the Thanksgiving Game, but it may count for time off Purgatory.

  4. Haha, I love the impression of Thanksgiving, that it's being thankful for ourselves. :-)

    My family is generally pretty chill about all this stuff. My older sister and younger brother are both married, and my parents, while they married right out of college, never pushed that a particular age is the right one, oh no better settle down, etc. I am more sanguine about it than they are, I think, but then I also am pretty happy with (and thankful for) many things in my life. We were just glad, after some tough family times, to have a nice Thanksgiving, and to welcome a couple of older single lady family friends to join us.

    That said, we did have a running joke about a young fellow from a distant land who is apparently following my dad's twitter and now they've had some correspondence in which we've learned he's quite a Nice Young Man of Goodwill, and in which my dad mentioned my work and my organization (which is specifically for young people of good will of all sorts). I kind of started the joke and am enjoying it, so I don't think it counts against the game points, which leaves me once again losing, but enjoying it (and the OrthoGal's bingo card I remember from before).


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