Celebrating Thanksgiving When You're Feeling Less Than Thankful

I don't know about you but just the thought of Thanksgiving makes me want to crawl into the basement with a 40-ounce beer and some Neil Young albums this year. Before you point out that the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter is Canadian, I know. Thanksgiving has already passed for our neighbors to the north, and that's how I'd like this holiday to be: over.

Unless our turkey is stuffed full of cash and served with a side of new opportunities, I'm just not interested. It's not that I'm not thankful. I am. Believe me, after looking for a job for what felt longer than any Ken Burns documentary, I realize I'm lucky and beyond grateful to have landed a new gig. Still, it's been a tough year.

With Thanksgiving a week away, it's time to make those plans. And yet I just don't know if I want to spend the day looking at the same people who know all about the less-than-spectacular year we've had.

If we do, we're bound to have to endure more of my mother's imploring us to consider applying at some of the many fast food joints littering the Tri-state area.  After we politely decline, she'll start insisting that surely my man could get behind the wheel of one of those ubiquitous monster Fed Ex and UPS trucks -- especially with delivery season in full swing. It'll be at this point that our 12-year-old will regale everyone with how "Daddy nearly backed over a man in the CVS parking lot in our mini-van last week!!" Then he and his 9-year-old brother will begin screaming "Jesus Christ!" in unison, imitating the nearly-struck pedestrian whom my husband swears, "came out of nowhere."

Then there's the inevitable, "So ... who has to work tomorrow?" that always arises during a mid-week holiday gathering. Eyes will briefly flick toward my husband, followed by an excruciating awkward silence as an unspoken chorus of  "Sorry, man"s hangs in the air.

Also, we'd probably go to my brother's house where I'll be reminded that my 3-year-old nephew's shoe collection falls somewhere between that of a Real Housewife of New Jersey and Imelda Marcos on the inventory scale. Meanwhile, I'm on the verge of shoplifting butter. 

But hey, at least we have our health, right? Me, with my burgeoning wine and white cheddar popcorn addiction, and my husband with his newfound unemployment-inspired anxiety disorder. Yes, here's to good health! I'll drink to that.

And then there are our three precious children - the boys who, each time they sit down for a meal, act as if they're coming off a month-long hunger strike. In between eating us out of house and home, they take a moment to delight us with tales of their friends who've just gotten the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. "Maybe this is the year we should take up skiing!" they exclaim after we shoot down their demands to be taken to Sea World or Costa Rica over Christmas break.

So is it any wonder maybe this year I'd like to just opt out of the entire holiday season?

How would you most like to spend Thanksgiving?
With friends and family
With complete strangers
Totally alone
Hmmm...jury's still out
Poll Maker

So, if we'd prefer not to spend the day with people we know, what about sharing it with strangers? Maybe instead of interviewing for jobs, we should hold a casting call for Thanksgiving guests. I could ask them crazy questions, like, "Can you share a bit about how you were a key part of your last Thanksgiving's success and/or failure?"

My husband could hit them with a timed "Make Your Own Brine" test and then interrupt them mid-way to ask, "Where do you see yourself spending Thanksgiving in five years?"

I, of course, would love to host/hire a real foodie for the day. You know, that very special guest who will bring grilled prosciutto-wrapped figs dotted with gorgonzola and then, over Prosecco, talk me through that recipe.

Side note: Speaking of top chefs, I've (finally) got a tentative date with Carla Hall. We're going to enjoy our Girls Night Out in January. Carla is no doubt counting on a Nor'easter blowing through town so this little shindig will be canceled. But! It's set for a Tuesday and I work in NYC that day so it's going to take A LOT to derail this party train. So, to all of you who threatened to boycott the show, ABC, and send hate mail to everyone from Mario Batali to Alex Trebek, it's all good, as they say. It's appreciated but hopefully unnecessary (though I'll believe it when I have a mocktail firmly in hand).

Back to Thanksgiving. We'd be looking for people who know nothing about us or our situation. For example, maybe my husband is not a man who's about to beseech customers to throw on a pair of peds before slipping into some vinyl shoes at Payless. Maybe he's a fighter pilot who's been furloughed. Or, maybe he's just back from a mission with the Navy Seals. We'd love to tell you more, but that's classified.

And me, I'm not a writer who's spent the last month coming up with 96 ways to use pumpkin (those who've taken my pedicure and enema suggestions, you're welcome!). No, I'm a brilliant scientist/stylist who's studying ways of harvesting underarm hair follicles from glassy-eyed teen boys engaged in Modern Warfare on their Xboxes and spinning said hair into lustrous wigs to be used in the next Muppet Movie.

And these screaming kids, who despite years of listening to their mother beg, still refuse to use utensils? Oh, they aren't even ours! Maybe we just adopted them, (outbidding the Jolie-Pitts), which means their complete lack of manners has nothing to do with us at all.

Until next time ... Happy Thanksgiving!


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