Thanksgiving traditions that should die. Now.
Every year, on a seemingly random day at the end of November, America celebrates Thanksgiving. (Canadians, as usual, get this completely wrong and hold it in October.) It's a day of tradition, a day to give thanks. And a day, or so it's become over time, that we all do inexplicable things just because it's Thanksgiving.
Some things are holy and central to the day: turkey, stuffing, potatoes, pumpkin pie, football. Most everything else is mutable. And then there are some things that have just plain worn out their welcome. These are things that might be better off slaughtered in the background of a Sarah Palin interview.
10. Breaking the Wishbone
Hey, let's grab a slimy bone from this bird skeleton, dry it out, and then make one of us feel like we got screwed out of a wish! This is a tradition that's barely fun, slightly gross, very superstitious, and teaches us a valuable lesson about our ever-nearing mortality. Thanks, 18th century!
9. Watching the National Dog Show just because it comes on after the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
NBC has been trying for years to pass this ridiculous thing off as a Turkey-Day tradition, but really? No one's buying it. The ratings for this are completely limited to: people who've fallen asleep in front of the TV, cooks who have too much turkey grease on their hands to want to use the remote, and Paris Hilton.
8. Come to think of it: The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Okay, not the whole thing. After all, something has to survive this Thanksgiving massacre we're dreaming up here. But does it have to be three hours long? There's only so much Today Show talent that a person can take. Show us five big balloons, four festive floats, three marching bands, two Broadway shows, and a Santa Claus at the end. We're done with the whole thing in under an hour, and we don't already feel bloated and sleepy.
7. Fancy Cranberry Sauces
Forget orange rind, walnuts, raisins, onion, or whatever other dumbass thing you're mixing in. The only cranberry sauce that should grace a Thanksgiving table is that cranberry sauce that can be found in nature: the untamed cranberry sauce that comes in the perfect, ridged shape of an aluminum can. Truly a Thanksgiving miracle.
6. Gathering the Whole Family Together Only Because They're Family
Sure, you don't mind the way grandpa unsnaps his pants after dinner and then calls attention to it. No, you don't mind sitting next to that cousin who went to jail that time for that thing that no one talks about. Fine, you'll pull your uncle's finger. But here's the thing: why? Remember, you can't pick your family, but you can pick an excuse not to see them this year. (And this fall, you really can't go wrong with H1N1. You're welcome.)
Yes, yams are different from sweet potatoes. No, no one really cares about that. Here's the thing: if there's only one specific day in the year when you bother to try to eat a specific food, there's no need to eat that specific food at all. And really, quit with the marshmallows. If you need an inch-thick layer of sugar in order to make a food palatable, it ain't food.
4. Green Bean Casserole
How did this marketing invention of Campbell's Soup make it into the holiday big leagues? Anything made with grey, lumpy, Cream of Mushroom soup? Yeah, that's a no. No one's fooling anyone with the whole green-bean thing. Eat a handful of French Fried Onions and stop lying to yourself.
3. Turkey Decorations
Does no one else find this a little ghoulish? We have kids tracing their hands on paper and creating from that these cute, fat, farm birds that we completely intend to behead, pluck, and eat over the course of days until only the sad, bony carcass is left. This is pretty much the equivalent of having rabbit for Easter dinner, or the cannibalistic consumption of Jesus at midnight mass on Christmas Eve. (What? Still too soon? But it's been 2,000 years!)
Whether in gravy, stuffing or pie, even giblets themselves are surprised that anyone is still eating them. "We're freaking disgusting," they're reported to have said right before committing themselves to the garbage disposal in a noble gesture to save holiday food traditionalists from themselves.
1. The Detroit Lions
Seriously, Detroit has enough on its plate these days without adding a national day of shame.
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