Editorial | It’s OK to not like Thanksgiving

By The Pitt News Editorial Board

As Thanksgiving break draws nearer, for some the feeling of dread surrounding the holiday is all-consuming. Whether it’s the long car ride, the expensive plane ride back home or the thought of seeing your family, it’s OK if the holidays feel less than joyful.

While Thanksgiving can be a happy time full of food and family, this isn’t the case for everyone — and that’s OK. Not everyone gets along with their family or may even have the opportunity to get home to their family for the holiday. There can be homework or other work that lingers over your head during the holidays, and turkey is overrated.

Thanksgiving is a weird holiday as is. We are celebrating the genocide of the Wampanoag tribe by eating with our families and saying what we’re thankful for. It seems strange to try to force joy onto a holiday that brings such sorrow to many Indigenous Americans. It’s OK if this legacy of genocide rubs you the wrong way, and the celebration of this holiday feels wrong to you.

Thanksgiving is also a holiday heavily focused on family. But not everyone likes their family, which can make the holiday hard to get through. Whether it’s a difference in politics or an abusive environment, sometimes sitting through a long meal with family is not feasible for everyone. Even though many have family situations like this, there still feels like an obligation to suck it up and go to the meal since it’s only once a year. Despite this feeling of obligation, if going home for Thanksgiving is not an option for you, it’s OK to opt out of the meal. 

Even if you are looking forward to seeing your family, some people may not have the opportunity to do so as traveling home can be expensive. For international students or even students whose family lives across the country, it may not be possible to obtain a ticket home. Some people may have to stay on campus and make their own Thanksgiving traditions away from their families, which may cause some sadness because of the emphasis on family during the holiday. It is totally OK if your Thanksgiving doesn’t look the same as everyone else’s.

One great thing about college is that you can choose who you want in your life and who you want to celebrate with. If you can’t go home for any number of reasons, having a Friendsgiving may be the better option. Gathering together, making food and sharing laughs with your friends can make a holiday that may typically feel unbearable into a bright and happy time. 

This Thanksgiving, we recommend you forget the obligations that are forced upon the holiday and redefine it for yourself. Whether this means celebrating with your family, celebrating with your friends or not celebrating at all, all are valid ways to celebrate. Take this week’s break as an opportunity to rest and rejuvenate before finals and find joy in whatever your situation may be next week.