How Parents Who Are Better Than Us Celebrate Thanksgiving

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tgThanksgiving was a somewhat formal holiday in my family when I was growing up. It was the day we used the nice tablecloth, the good plates, and silverware that my mother made my sisters and I polish after the meal. Now that I have my own family, Thanksgiving is a tad less formal. Like, paper plates and football kind of informal.

But there are a lot of parents out there who are way, way better than I am at this whole “raising children” schtick, who want to make this holiday mean something and use it to teach their kids valuable lessons. I just want to eat my stuffing and cheer on the Seahawks. Any lessons I would teach on Thanksgiving would be in the form of tirades about genocide and racism, so I tend to just eat and watch the Thanksgiving Day parade.

Good parents: “Thanksgiving is a day when we get together and give thanks for our families.”

Me: “Yes, but really it’s about the massacre of the Wampanoag Nation. Now let’s get some cranberry sauce in my mouth, please. Hey look, another marching band!”

I decided to do some research into how good parents use this holiday to interact with their children in meaningful ways. So I gave my kids the iPad and a handful of firecrackers (kidding), and settled in for some self-pity.

Psych Central suggests that one way you can “celebrate the essence of Thanksgiving” is to inspire your children by watching movies like The Lion King, listening to songs like “Climb Every Mountain” from The Sound of Music, or watching a Ted Talk together on your computer. You know those situations you look at and say to yourself, “I could never be in that room because I would not be able to appropriate.” The room where a sing-a-long to “Climb Every Mountain” is happening is one those places for me.

But what about crafts? There must be a billion Thanksgiving crafts that good parents do with their kids. I found my forever favorite at It’s called a Gobbler’s Glove, which is impossible to say without laughing. I mean…Gobbler’s Glove? That is for sure some kind of a sexual aid. As in, “You wait here, honey. I’m gonna go get the Gobbler’s Glove. Rawr.”

Of course, good parents also use Thanksgiving as a way to grow closer together as a family. For tips on how to do that, I went to the Focus on the Family site, which lost me from it’s very first sentence:

Sometimes it’s a challenge to convince children that Thanksgiving Day is really not all about the food.

Oh…sorry, I was in the middle of shoving an entire turkey leg down my throat. (That’s what she said.) I’m afraid that for my family, it actually is all about the food. Thanksgiving is the day I am thankful for all the wonderful things in my life, like stuffing. And cranberry sauce. And sweet potato pie. OH! And my kids.

Anyway, Focus on the Family (FOF) says that a great idea is for the entire family is to do an ice breaker as “a fun way to get everyone talking.” You know what else is a fun way to get everyone talking? Ask grandma about Ferguson. It’s a fantastic way to both share your thoughts on current events, and hear your annual quota of racial slurs.

But here is FOF’s idea for an icebreaker:

Write something to be thankful for on a small sheet of paper and tape it to the back of everyone who comes in the door. They must ask yes or no questions from other guests to guess what is written on the paper.

Remember that room I mentioned above? The one I could never be in because I wouldn’t be appropriate? Add this one to the list. I mean, who could turn down an opportunity to write things like, “Thanks for not drinking today, Dad.” Or, “I’m thankful you trusted me enough to tell me about your abortion.”

My Thanksgivings might never be meaningful, but they will always be hilariously offensive.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

(Photo: Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock)