Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. I love the food, the cheer, the time spent with family. Some of my best childhood memories are of my Thanksgivings past, all viewed from the kids’ table of course. Now that I have a daughter, I am more and more aware of how things have changed since I was little, in some ways for the better. For years I thought I didn’t like sweet potatoes because the ones we had back in the 70s were dumped out of a big, purple and orange can and smothered in mini-marshmallows. The millennial roasted, organic garnet yam version is WAY better.
But as they say, as much as things change, they also stay the same.
Here’s a little side by side comparison of Thanksgiving back in the day and Thanksgiving now:
Then: Bundle up the kids and drive across town to Grandma’s house. Over the river and through the woods and all that.
Now: Pack up the entire family, kennel the dogs, rush to the airport, endure an hour long security line, almost miss your plane and then fly across the country to Grandma’s house. On the busiest travel day of the year of course.
Then: Throw the Butterball in the oven until it’s done.
Now: Brine the farm-raised, humanely slaughtered, organic turkey in a mixture of wine, Himalayan salt, juniper berries and star anise. Wrap it in grass-fed-butter soaked cheese cloth after inserting decorative herb leaves under the skin, and roast gently in a convection oven. Glaze with a chipotle spiked pomegranate molasses.
Then: Cranberry sauce plops right out of the can onto the dish with convenient lines for slicing!
Now: Are these cranberries GMO?
Then: All the young men in the family have perms and mustaches and want to do The Hustle.
Now: All the young men in the family look Amish, complete with huge beards. They each have at least one ear tunnel and want to be organic farmers and run their own CSAs.
Then: You don’t eat meat? Well here, turkey’s not meat, it’s poultry. No? Okay, have some stuffing then. It’s not made with meat. Just some broth. What’s the big idea here? Are you voting for Carter or something?
Now: Oh my God, should we get the vegetarians a Field Roast or Tofurkey? Or make a lentil loaf and serve it in an acorn squash? Is Field Roast gluten free?
Then: Football!! Let’s go play outside and then come inside and watch the game.
Now: Umm, HELLO?? Have you never heard of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy? How about some Montessori games on the iPad for the kids instead? And can we go ironically retro and maybe watch The Sound of Music on Apple TV instead?
Then: Everyone’s in an uproar because Cousin Earl is showing off his tattoo that he got in the Navy. Rumors are going around that Cousin Kevin might be, you know, G. A. Y., because he has an earring.
Now: Everyone has a tattoo. The baby practically has a tramp stamp and look at Grandma rocking her new ink over there as she mashes those potatoes. And by the way, Cousin Kevin IS gay, every guy at the table has an earring or two or three, Cousin Katie has her nipple pierced and a beauty mark stud and no one cares about any of it. Except maybe Grandpa but he’s too busy trying to find out what in the devil this Brazilian wax nonsense is that everyone’s been talking about. What in the dickens is the matter with folks? Back in his day, a man appreciated a lady with a nice, full…GRANDPA, STOP IT!!
Then: Well, we might hit the K-Mart or Sears tomorrow to see if they have any sales going on.
Now: We’re having dinner at one in the afternoon because we need to get the dishes washed and the food put away because the Mall opens at five pm and BLACK FRIDAY STARTS THURSDAY EVENING, BITCHES. I AM GETTING A FLAT SCREEN TV FOR TWO DOLLARS THIS YEAR IF IT’S THE LAST THING I DO! And don’t think I won’t cut somebody if I have to.
Then: The kids are putting on an adorable reenactment of the first Thanksgiving. Aww, look at the little Pilgrims and Indians learning to share and live together in harmony.
Now: No way are we going to propagate a fake fairy tale story that did not happen in order to sugar coat the facts about how a bunch of bigoted, intolerant religious fanatics came over here from Europe to steal the native tribes’ land and kick off a centuries long, brutal genocide. Plus, they didn’t even have turkey back then. I’m sorry but Squanto was eating acorns, oysters and freakin’ squirrels.
Then: Polaroids and flash bulbs. Get around to dropping the film off at the Fotomat after Christmas. Hopefully. Then maybe by Easter someone will finally manage to stick the developed pictures into a big, vinyl, photo album.
Now: Instagram this immediately. Tag me. Delete that! I look fat. Untag me! Did you post that without asking me? Oh my God! How many likes did we get? #FamilyThanksgiving2014 #OMGSoFull #YesIAteThat
Then: Kids arguing over the wishbone.
Now: Everyone takes a turn doing a wishbone selfie.
Then: Green bean casserole! Yay! Sneak all the crunchy onions off the top!
Now: <Sigh> Green bean casserole. Yay! Sneak all the crunchy onions off the top!
Then: Grandpa’s wearing a leisure suit and bitching about taxes, Democrats and gas prices.
Now: Grandpa is still wearing a leisure suit and bitching about taxes, Democrats and gas prices.
Then: Ehn, we’ll probably go cut down a tree in a couple weeks and get it up in time for Christmas, once we untangle all the darned strings of Christmas lights we tossed in a cardboard box in the basement.
Now: That sucker’s been up since Halloween. Pre-lit, for the win.
Then: Here have a slice of Mrs. Smith’s Pumpkin Pie with some Cool Whip on top.
Now: How about a pumpkin spice latte with pumpkin spice Oreos, pumpkin spice Pringles, pumpkin spice Milano cookies, pumpkin spice kale chips, pumpkin spice coffee with pumpkin spice creamer to go in it, pumpkin spice bagels with pumpkin spice cream cheese, pumpkin spice Soy Milk, pumpkin spice hummus, pumpkin spice marshmallows and pumpkin spice m&ms? And if your skin feels a little dry we also have pumpkin spice hand cream which goes nicely with our pumpkin spice candles, pumpkin spice air freshener and pumpkin spice shampoo.
Then: You get out of bed excited to see Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Bullwinkle and Kermit float down Broadway in the Macy’s Parade. You're really excited to see The Rockettes too and if the reception's bad you're totally willing to hold the tin foil on the rabbit ears so you didn’t miss a thing.
Now: You get out of bed excited to see Pikachu, Sponge Bob and some freaky looking, faceless, silver rabbit thing floating down Central Park South. And okay, you’re still really excited to see The Rockettes and if the satellite goes out on the TV it’s fine. You can live stream the parade on your laptop.
Then: Your family’s nuts, you’re stuffed, you’re happy and most of all, you’re thankful for everything.
Now: Your family’s nuts, you’re stuffed, you’re happy and most of all, you’re thankful for everything.