For any readers who live in places where this holiday is not observed, Thanksgiving is a day we get together with our families and reflect on all the things for which we are grateful.
… just kidding. It’s a day when all the women in the family frantically run around preparing unhealthy amounts of food while the men watch American Football. In the end, we all eat ourselves into a coma, the men return to the couch to fight off sleep in front of the TV and the women drag their feet around the kitchen cleaning everything up with half-mooned eyes.
Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.
Seriously though, I really enjoy the holiday. Perhaps it is because I am a man. Though, I am not interested in football, so I usually hang out in the kitchen and try to help out. In fact, with some resistance, I somewhat inadvertently started a tradition at my in-laws house where the men do the cleanup after the meal.
Besides being one day of the year where the reality of sustained gender inequalities in US families tends to jump out at me, it is also the one day of the year where both my family and my in-laws’ family say a prayer of gratitude before eating. And, it is the official start of the winter holiday season.
Although, like most holidays, the true meaning has been mostly lost in the broad culture, a few years ago, my sister had started a tradition in my family where we all take turns talking about something for which we are grateful. There’s usually some grumbling and groaning when we start, but in the end, we have a conversation that adds depth and joy to our relationships.