- November 25, 2014

Here’s How To Survive Thanksgiving, Austin-Style


We-heh-hell, y’all, that special time we call Thanksgiving is pecking at our heels. What began as a simple harvest celebration has morphed into a cornucopia of controversy. Whether it’s family drama, food drama, shopping drama, or historical drama, there are plenty of reasons to chew the scenery while chewing the fat on the fourth Thursday in November. Love it or hate it, Thanksgiving isn’t going away. So, how does one get through it without a meltdown? Easy! Just follow my handy guide to mitigating the Turkey Day Blues.

Family Drama

Arcie Cola. Photo by Erica Nix.

You are reading “Arcie’s Austin,” a blog by the one and only Arcie Cola. Photo by Erica Nix.

For those with difficult family dynamics, or who live far away, a tried and true Thanksgiving hack is the Friendsgiving. Ignore the guilt trip and do your own thing with people you like! If you haven’t secured an invitation to such an event, then host your own. You don’t have to be rich or kitchen-savvy to pull this off. Make it a potluck or go with the convenience of pre-cooked food.

I remember a year when a friend and I celebrated over deli turkey breast, boxed stuffing, canned veggies, and a Star Trek marathon. We had a lovely time together, and the only preparation involved a phone call, a bus ride, and a positive attitude. I’ve also celebrated Thanksgiving alone, which isn’t the worst thing in the world because hey–you get to eat and do exactly what you like!

Food Drama

Food can make folks fussy, and most Austin residents are surely acquainted with a variety of dietary restrictions. As it’s in vogue to accommodate even the most particular palates at our holiday tables, a polite inquiry of your guests, or host, can go a long way toward making everyone happy.

This does not have to be an ordeal, and the responsibility for respectful communication and preparation lies with both parties. Host? Ask your guests what they absolutely can’t eat, then serve one or two filling dishes that can meet their requirements. Guest? Tell your host you are bringing a favorite dish to share. The beauty of the internet is that variations for  traditional recipes are available with a quick search. Now everybody can leave the table satisfied!

Shopping Drama

This one is easy. DON’T GO SHOPPING! Just don’t do it! Once upon a recent time, no businesses, aside from some gas stations, were open on Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, things have changed. It doesn’t matter what kind of “sale” is happening at the Big Box o’Rama, it’s simply not worth the hassle and potential injury, even the next day. If you must get out of the house, go for a walk instead. Your conscience, and wallet, will thank you.

Historical Drama

There’s no denying that the symbolism of Thanksgiving is intertwined with the ugly history of Native American oppression. Most choose to ignore this, but for those who can’t, a day devoted to gluttony and contact sports leads to a different sort of heartburn. I’m not advocating extreme guilt for the sins of our ancestors, but I’m definitely in favor of seeking the truth in order to have an informed opinion. If you feel the need to to acknowledge this unsavory part of American history, I suggest a pre-holiday trip to the library, or some quality time with ye olde Google. There are many resources available for inquiring minds who seek to peek beyond the popular propaganda. Information can lead to compassion, and compassion can lead to change. It’s never too late to educate!

Wishing y’all a fantastic Thanksgiving; wherever, however, and with whomever. As for me, I’m so grateful to have y’all in my life!