The times sure have changed. When I was a kid, Thanksgiving was the biggest family and friends holiday of the year. Minus the presents, it was even bigger and more fun than Christmas, plus I didn’t have to go to church.

Yet, Thanksgiving seems to have been swept somewhat to the wayside as of late. Christmas has been pushed forward to follow Halloween, and Black Friday seems to be a chance to stock up on presents. For the past couple of years, supermarkets even have been giving turkeys away for free, suggesting a decline in this holiday’s retail significance. So, what is this forgotten holiday really about?

In grade school, I’d get covered in paint to make a handprint turkey, which teachers insisted my parents would love, but it was never displayed past the holiday. I remember making construction-paper headbands, wearing face paint and putting on a play of some sort of fantasy version of the first Thanksgiving, where Native Americans and settlers feasted together to get through a particularly harsh winter.

Today, we seem to know a little bit more about the atrocities between European settlers and native peoples. In my lifetime, Christopher Columbus has shifted from being a hero to being hated, and I believe that the Internet has played a large part in this sharing of information.

Thinking back, I feel a little lied to about Thanksgiving, but it is still one of my favorite holidays — and thanks is still one of my favorite sentiments.

Growing up, every Thanksgiving, I would get to see all of my calabash aunts, uncles and cousins for a feast of epic proportions. Space and time seemed to realign. Adults went into food comas, while us children went mach-turbo off a sugar rush from the candied yams, cranberry gel and pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving was the first time I got to spray my own whipped cream, and I took advantage of that — covering the whole plate and burying the pie slice somewhere beneath.


I felt the camaraderie every year when I spent Thanksgiving in New York away from my family. All of us transplants would bond together and make the holiday feel like home even though we weren’t.

Thanksgiving’s a much better love holiday than Valentines Day. You can meet with friends like the first mythical dinner that probably never happened, feast and feel the togetherness in a hippie communal-type of love, versus the insidious, obsessive creepy stalker will-you-be-my-valentine type.

If you’re lucky, you probably already have received an invite to one of the biggest VIP events of the year. And if you haven’t, there’s still time to figure something out. If you’re hosting and you find there’s any extra room, extend an invite to somebody who lives alone or just moved out here. Though you won’t necessarily have that much to thank them for (“Thank you for eating my turkey”), they’ll generate enough thanks toward you to make up for it.

Most of all, don’t let this holiday stress you out. If you end up burning the turkey or pie or whatever, at least you didn’t burn the house down, and that’s something to be thankful for.