Holidays and the traditions surrounding them say a lot about a culture. Holiday traditions point to what a society values and celebrates. What we choose to celebrate acts as a window into our culture’s truest self. So with that introduction, I offer you the top 5 Thanksgiving traditions that show us who Americans really are.
5. That Moment When You Unbutton Your Pants. What is more American than eating so much food that the pants you wore making the food no longer properly fit after eating the food? Nothing. Gluttony and and choosing comfort over fashion are American traditions, and are on display at any Walmart.
4. Conceding Grace. Every Thanksgiving meal starts with the turkey placed on the table and before it gets carved, the patriarch or matriarch stands to lead grace. Grace itself is not American. However, what is truly American is for all the non-believers at the table to fold their hands and bow their heads because it is just easier to let the religious have their moment than to try to take a stand and say “I don’t observe a religious grace.”
3. Falling Asleep Watching the Detroit Lions Suck. The Detroit Lions play a Thanksgiving game every year, and for my entire life the franchise has been a joke. They provide the perfect boring football game to slowly drift into a food coma. They also provide a perfect metaphor as most Americans just fell asleep as we watched Detroit fail and fall into bankruptcy.
2. Grilling the Significant Other. Tommy brought his girlfriend to Thanksgiving for the first time. The family was excited to meet her, but in their eagerness, they pepper her with questions and made her very anxious. Tommy’s girlfriend felt stressed, afraid and worried she made a bad impression. While the family thinks they wants Tommy’s girlfriend to feel included, they effectively made her an outsider. Likewise in America, we say we are the land of opportunity, and we boast our history of diversity and immigration, but we effectively do an incredible job of making sure the newbies feel like the other.
1.Picking the Same Fight Over and Over and Over. Cousin Sarah is a bleeding-heart atheist, while Uncle Jim is just an ass-hole. There is no way they get in the same fight about immigration, god, minimum wage, corporate America, unions, abortion, stem cell research, steroids, and Bill Belichick that they always do, right? Yes they will. In true American fashion, on family holidays we find ourselves getting drawn into the same fights with the same people we always do. Even when we know there is no way to win! Do I even need to finish drawing the analogy on this one?