You can be a happy, kind, thankful well-adjusted person who loves your family, and still really, really hate Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is, if you'll pardon the pun, a real turkey of a holiday: it lacks the whimsy and gift-giving of Christmas or Hanukkah, the potential fun of New Year's and Halloween, and the decent weather of any spring or summer holiday. It easily has the least going for it of any holiday this side of Arbor Day (and actually, the weather is usually pretty good on Arbor Day).
Before you call me a lonely hater— well, I am a lonely hater, but still — think about turkey day critically for a moment. If Thanksgiving was actually so beloved, wouldn't we have Thanksgiving songs? Or movies? Or giant Thanksgiving tchotchke tie-in displays at every store? Instead, retailers jump straight into exploiting Christmas. Stores exploiting things that everyone loves is part of the American way, and the fact that stores can barely exploit Thanksgiving makes me think that more of you are closet Thanksgiving haters than you're willing to admit.
So if you've always hated tracing paper turkeys and crappy mashed potatoes, but have been too afraid to speak up, I say unto ye: don't be shy! Raise your voice and say, "I can't believe I get one day off, and I have to spend it sitting at the kid's table even though I'm 24!" And if you need any more ammo, here are 19 reasons why Thanksgiving is the worst holiday around.
Here's some surprising news: the day before Thanksgiving isn't actually the worst travel day of the year! (The real worst travel days of the year are actually staggered throughout the summer.) So why does the day before Thanksgiving feel like it's the worst, most congested travel day of the year?
Probably because during the summer, on the actual worst travel days of the year, you're traveling to do something cool and interesting, and you don't mind the delays that much in the grand scheme of things. Whereas on Thanksgiving, you're traveling through the cold on a packed train, bus, or plane, only to go sleep on your lumpy childhood bed and interact with relatives you spend the rest of the year avoiding. Not quite the ideal fuel to keep your head up when you're on a hour-long security line.
Sleeping in Your Childhood Bed
THIS BED IS SO LUMPY AND SMALL! How did you sleep on this bed for 15 years? This lumpy-ass micro-bed is probably why you have insomnia, and a weird back problem, and didn't get into your first choice college. And if you're bringing a significant other home ... just forget about it.
Social Media #Thankful Overload
Aren't we supposed to be thankful for what we have every day? Not just when it's a weird competition with everyone we're Facebook friends with? And don't even get me started on the backhanded thankfulness posts, which are really just an excuse to brag about how you have a husband or a pool or a husband who built you a pool or a pool-playing husband or whatever.
The Informal "Night Before Thanksgiving" High School Reunion
So you've been home for six hours, and already wish you'd stayed home alone to eat crackers and watch the parade. So what is there to do, except meet up with your hometown friends whom you never see any more? Oh, wait, the only bar that's open is full of everyone you haven't seen since high school. Oh wait, you've only been here for ten minutes and already remember exactly why you haven't seen them since high school. Oh, wait, you also had to ask your parents for permission to go to this bar. Enjoy your "adulthood," sucker!
Bland, Highly-Caloric Food
Admit it: you don't even like turkey! IF YOU LIKED TURKEY, YOU WOULD EAT IT ALL YEAR. And even if the average Thanksgiving dinner is not actually 4500 calories, it's still a meal carb-laden and heavy enough to slow your roll for the next 48 hours, and expensive enough to put a dent in your holiday gift-buying budget. Did you know that the average Thanksgiving turkey costs $50?!
Hey, I have a great idea for a color scheme! Let's make everything "decaying leaf" brown, "spoiled pumpkin pie" orange, and a gross yellow that looks like a rotting squash. That'll be a real feast for the senses!
Weak Vegetarian Options
If you don't eat meat, today you're making due with a plate of mashed potatoes, yams, and the crappy, dry, non-meat stuffing. The dinner of champions, right? Bonus points if your parents bought a Tofurkey just for you and then undercooked it because they needed to make room in the oven for the real turkey.
Spending Too Much Time Around Too Much Family
If you don't think the best kind of "family quality time" is watching 20 different barely-related people yell at each other from across a dining room table, then you, my friend, are in for a long Thursday.
Another fun side effect of having every member of your family in a single room is that everyone gets to remember every single way every other family member has ever slighted them, and then struggle to repress it for the duration of a five hour dinner. Spoiler alert: it does not work!
If you're not into football, tough luck, because you are about to sit through 19 hours of it — a time during which you are not only likely forbidden from having unrelated conversations, but also forbidden from being "anti-social" and watching Sherlock in your childhood bedroom by yourself. And even if you're a casual football fan, Thanksgiving takes away the real things that make watching it fun: hanging out with your friends and drinking beer without having your dad ask if you "always drink this much."
The Fact That Stores Are Now Open on Thanksgiving
As crappy as Thanksgiving is, can't everyone have it off from work? Knowing that someone had to show up to work at Target just so you could have a place to drive to when you can't stand another second with your family actually makes the whole thing even worse.
The Actual Story of Thanksgiving
The stories behind Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa — all relatively fun and uplifting! But the Thanksgiving story is incredibly depressing. Isolated pilgrims, failing crops, Native Americans at the beginning of several centuries of destruction at the hands of white America. But hey, at least you get to eat a frickin' turkey, right?
Making Small Talk with Random Family Members
Since everyone needs somewhere to go on Thanksgiving, your dinner table ends up being 80 percent immediate family members ... and 20 percent cousins you haven't seen since childhood and aunts/uncles that, frankly, you weren't sure were still alive. I hope you've been keeping up on The Voice, because that is literally your only hope of making it out of the random relative small talk minefield alive.
Dealing with Annoying Parental Questions
The winter family holidays are too fun to disrupt by bringing up irritating parental queries — there are too many ugly sweaters to try on and TV specials to watch! — but since Thanksgiving really has nothing to it but a few hours of food and football, it is the perfect time for your parents to ask annoying questions about your job, your love life, or when you're going to stop "wearing a ring through your nose like a damned bull."
It's a Day Off That's Not Actually About Resting
If you've been looking forward to relaxing a little during your day off work, you're dreaming. From the second your parents wake you up (at a much earlier hour than you'd hoped), you're put to work preparing the food, setting the table, or driving around town, trying to find some place that's open and will sell you a bag of walnuts.
The only thing that could possibly make Thanksgiving dinner worse is ending it at 3 p.m. so that you can stand around outside a Best Buy for 16 hours. How can anyone possibly need a discount X Box this badly??!
It's So Close to the Winter Holidays
You know, the fun holidays? The ones with songs and TV specials and whimsy and candy? So if you don't have any other friends who want to do a friendsgiving celebration with you, you're either stuck shelling out to go home twice in two months, or you're stuck staying at home eating cold pizza and watching the Thanksgiving parade alone, all while feeling sorry for yourself and fielding non-stop texts and emails from friends trapped with their families.
The Turkey Dump/Turkey Drop
It's not just a myth — Thanksgiving is one of the most popular times of the year to break up. In fact, it's almost like a special break-up holiday, a celebration of the time when iffy significant others look forward to the months of holidays ahead (Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's Day, etc), and just can't do it. And it's not just for college students— I was on the receiving end of a turkey drop my sophomore year in college, and again at the ripe old age of 27. Turns out there isn't an age restriction on saying, "Eating all these marshmallow yams has really made me reconsider my feelings for you."
Thinking That You're the Only One Who Hates Thanksgiving
But you're not! Stay strong — soon you'll be back in your freezing cold apartment, spending all your money on holiday gifts and waiting out the next five months until it gets warm again ... you know what? Maybe it's best to just eat some of those marshmallow yams and try not think about it.
Images: Fotolia; Giphy (21)