Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Nov 6, 2011 03:23 PM

When Thanksgiving and its customs are foreign to you

I love spending time and have dinner with friends, but Thanksgiving is not a holiday I grew up with. I did grew up with three days of Christmas so maybe that counts for Thanksgiving :-)

I wonder if there are any others here who don't connect with Thanksgiving and its spirit. And if this is the case, what do you do when everyone around you gets into the madness of Thanksgiving? Also Any tips where to hang out and not be dragged into this Thanksgiving celebration???

And this is not to diss those who are celebrating Thanksgiving, I fully respect this and you! I just want to do something else !

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. I get what you're saying... But I do enjoy celebrating holidays that are not mine. I didn't grow up with Christmas, but I love joining my friend's celebrations. Thanksgiving in my family isn't madness. Perhaps you can find a friend who has a nice simple "Thankful" Thanksgiving and enjoy that.

      Or create your own tradition. Maybe its a day you try a new recipe. Or an internet free day. Or a day you watch movies you always meant to see, but never did. Or invite a bunch of other people who don't do Thanksgiving over and have them each bring a dish from their childhood.

      It's not that hard to figure out how to spend a day.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Jennalynn

        am i crazy or is the american kennel club dog show live at madison square garden on t'giving? or maybe it's just broadcast on tv that day? maybe attending that event would be a good alternative; or attending the t'giving day parade which really has nothing to do w/t'giving and then volunteering at a soup kitchen which should be a relevant activity any day of the year? trinity lutheran church on the lower east side has a great ministry for this!

        1. re: betsydiver

          No, that's not live. MSG has no events scheduled on TG.

          1. re: Karl S

            The dog show actually takes place outside Philadelphia the weekend before and is televised on Thanksgiving.

        2. re: Jennalynn

          Hm-m, I am not Catholic, but my wife's family has a big celebration for St. Joseph's Day, with the alter, etc.. That has never bothered me. It has been fun, and I have enjoyed the family, and their celebration.

          I feel that too many get hung up on others' celebrations. We have celebrated Hanukkah-mas for many years (decades, actually), and no one has been the worse for the wear. It just happens.

          Celebrations can be great, whether one can relate directly, or not.


        3. "Any tips where to hang out and not be dragged into this Thanksgiving celebration???"

          Don't marry someone who is attached to this rather deep-seated American custom. Because your lack of attachment to it will not be given a great deal of deference by the in-laws. If you are lucky, it will be humored at best.

          Put it this way, imagine the shoes were on the other foot and you were in a culture that did not celebrate Christmas much.

          If you can find a Chinese restaurant that is open (more common on Christmas than Thanksgiving), hang out there.Thanksgiving is a rare holiday left where things really do shut down in the USA other than the restaurant and hospitality/travel-related trades. As such, it's a great day to go for a drive and see things (outside - obviously, more places are closed indoors) that are ordinarily mobbed. (I do this, btw, on Independence Day when I am not with friends or family.)

          1 Reply
          1. re: Karl S

            It used to be that Thanksgiving was a day where things shut down, but not as much as they used to. Kmart chose to be open on Thanksgiving a few years ago and many others are open on Thanksgiving now as well. Even most of the Chinese restaurants are closed on Christmas Eve in the Twin Cities.

          2. I identify with this OP. I am English so didn't grow up with this tradition either. In Britain turkey is for Christmas so it seems rather strange to eat it 4 weeks before Christmas. Although my first husband was American and we lived in London my MIL used to make T-giving but it still doesn't mean much if anything to me.

            However, I do like the cross cultural aspect of this holiday and the spirit in which it's meant.

            1. If you don't want to have the traditional meal with friends/family, then skip it. You can start your Christmas shopping at WalMart, KMart, etc.

              If you don't want to deal with people , then just stay home. Go for it.