Why We’re Skipping Thanksgiving (and I’m Happy About it)

We’re not doing anything for Thanksgiving this year, and I feel pretty great about it.

Truthfully I’m a serial Thanksgiving skipper. When I lived in London I celebrated with a soggy turkey sandwich. In Colombia a couple of years ago we simply went out for pizza. I think that the year I was in Australia I completely forgot it even was Thanksgiving until that evening when I checked my email.

Thanksgiving in Colombia

By my count, out of the past 7 Thanksgivings I have celebrated twice. Just two years, the two I was actually in the United States with my family.

It’s not that I have anything against the holiday mind you. Thanksgiving may not be my absolute favorite but it’s a day totally dedicated to food, which you know is my jam. I’m not into Black Friday or any of that nonsense, but I’m totally into giving thanks in general. My favorite bits of Thanksgiving: my grandmother’s Italian meat stuffing, going around the table and listing what we’re thankful for, finally being able to watch Christmas movies.

Last year Mike and I were actually in the United States for Thanksgiving and I whole-heartedly embraced it. In fact, I hosted! Not just my own family, but my future in-laws as well (I am both ambitious and foolish). Despite having zero experience Mike and I managed to:

  • Roast a pretty presentable turkey (a small miracle in itself).
  • Make two kinds of potatoes (baked sweet potatoes with a clove compound butter and mashed potatoes from scratch)
  • Make rosemary garlic biscuits and an elaborate salad involving roasted butternut squash and homemade dressing

Not bad for a first attempt. We didn’t even really need the back-up lasagna my mom so kindly made us.

The only photo I remembered to take of my greatest triumph

It was fantastic. And so exhausting. The whole thing took a week to put together, and probably another week to recover from.

So this year I’m not too concerned. For awhile I checked around to see if any restaurants were hosting anything. I considered hosting myself for the little blogger ex-pat community. And then I made the conscious decision to not care. Why should I feel obligated to do something? Thanksgiving is great and all, but I can live without it, for another year at least.

(I will add that Christmas is different. I always want to play christmas music, watch Love Actually and decorate a tree. I’ve never not felt sad about not being home for Christmas. This year we’re celebrating with Mike’s family at a resort in Puerto Vallarta, and I’m still going to get a little teary when I call my parents I’m sure.)

Every day in Sayulita 

My apathy about Thanksgiving isn’t depressing, in fact it’s rooted in hope. There will be other Thanksgivings, lots of them probably. Mike and I are family now and we have a whole lifetime of warm fuzzy food-drunk Thanksgivings lying ahead of us. Celebrating shouldn’t be an obligation, it should be, well, a celebration!

But how many more years will we be able to blow off a major holiday entirely? Probably not many, and being able to shirk that responsibility is a gift in itself I now realize. No hectic travel. No small talk with weird relatives. No pile of dirty dishes. We’ll just call our folks, wish them well and maybe go out for pizza (or a turkey sandwich if we’re feeling festive).

Who knows where we will be this time next year, or how I will feel about celebrating. But at this point in my life I get to pick and choose, and for that, I’m definitely grateful.

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22 thoughts on “Why We’re Skipping Thanksgiving (and I’m Happy About it)”

  1. Yes, NOTHING like Christmas! Music and movies and rum nog. Yup! I just have a pile of exams to survive and then I’ll be right there. Good for you for embracing the moment and not worrying about all that stuff. 🙂

  2. i don’t mind missing thanksgiving one bit either. this is my second in india and i might treat myself to the tootsie rolls i have from the states i’ve been hoarding. christmas is another story.. this will be my second out of the country and i always wish i were home!

  3. Gerard and I are notorious for Thanksgiving skippers too! Maybe not as much as you two, but at least every other year in the last 7 years i would say. It’s not one that I feel guilty about missing b/c we were off traveling somewhere. Christmas is a different story for sure.. Happy Thanksgiving to you both! Enjoy that pizza.. 😛

  4. Christmas is more fun! We were in Vienna last year and knew there had to be somebody doing Thanksgiving dinner. So we took upon the Couchsurfing community and found ourselves upon a potluck with people from all over the place! Just another good reason to gather and make new friends abroad in my book. 🙂

  5. We’ve done a lot of blowing off Thanksgiving the past few years, and that’s in the U.S. My favorite was the year we went to San Antonio and watched the lighting of the river. Considering that we never even knew they had it, the weekend was totally amazing.

    This year, we’re going out to celebrate with the family one last time before we leave on our permanent trip to South America. No dishes, no long days of preparation, just easy family time with my little family. Then six days later we leave on a cruise ship and simply don’t bother to come back. We have a lot to be thankful for this year, embarking on a life of permanent travel is nothing short of a lifelong dream.

  6. I’m heading up to Montreal with my boyfriend over Thanksgiving weekend this year, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. SUPER thankful that my parents don’t guilt me into coming home–it’s so miserable and expensive to travel around the holidays. Looking forward to eating turkey sandwiches on the train and maybe trying poutine on Thanksgiving night!

  7. I’ve skipped Thanksgiving before – one year I took the train to San Antonio, visited the Alamo, and just generally had a great time forgetting it was a holiday. Enjoy not celebrating!

  8. I love Thanksgiving/Christmas, but it’s hard to not want to jet off somewhere when I have those free days off from work that don’t count as vacation time 🙂

    This year I’m sticking around for both actually, but the past 2 years my parents decided we should all go away for the holidays which was amazing.

  9. I got lucky this year: my family came to visit me for Thanksgiving! I am trying to convince them that they should make it an annual tradition, but I know that is just wishful thinking.

  10. I too have a sporadic relationship with Thanksgiving. When I make it home (which isn’t very often) I’m all for gobbling up some turkey and spending a day with the family, but when I’m away, I take the opportunity to not conform to such holidays. I’m no Grinch, I just feel like it’s too much hassle and I’d rather celebrate the holidays of the country I’m living in instead. Rory and I usually end up on the turkey sandwhich bandwagon (or sushi) with a bottle of wine and it’s perfect.

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