Good Food, No Gifts, and a lot of Football

26 Nov 2017 Karina S. Henkel

Every year I hear Andrew say, “I love Thanksgiving: good food, no gifts, and a lot of football watching.” But not only Andrew feels that way about Thanksgiving. Many think exactly the same. It is one of the biggest holidays in America, after all. But isn’t it funny that I hear only men say that? So far I have never heard a woman make these kinds of comments about this holiday. Before Thanksgiving women usually say things like, “I didn’t get a big Turkey this year”, “I am almost done cleaning the house”, “I hope everyone will have a good time”, “I can’t wait until it’s over.” And after Thanksgiving I hear women share how exhausted they are.

I know Andrew does not agree with my observation that I think that women do the most work for this holiday. I have the feeling that the men who so innocently and happily talk about Thanksgiving as the best holiday ever have no clue of how much work is required to provide all that great food for a bigger group, to clean the house, prepare all the tables, and decorate the rooms so that the guys can have their great traditional meal and watch their football.

So, last week, when I heard the CEO of the company I work for praising Thanksgiving the same as Andrew always does, I inwardly rolled my eyes. But then, the CEO said something else. He said he loves Thanksgiving because it is purely a family holiday. It’s not about religion or any culture but only a day for families to come together. People take days off and often travel far in order to see their folks. He so much appreciates that there are no rituals or any other things going on except for taking time with each other.

I suddenly understood a little bit more about this holiday. Of course, in a country that was built by people of so many different nations, cultures, and religions, religious holidays can be difficult. Many American families have to integrate family members of different religions and nationalities. Jews, Muslims, and all kinds of different kinds of Christians can be found in one family and they have to find ways to live together.

A non-religious holiday is the best opportunity to connect for everyone in a family, no matter what this person believes or knows from his or her childhood. It makes it so much easier to connect with each other.

And the whole gender equality thing that I mentioned before does not seem to be such a big deal. The women in these families seem to like putting all that work into this holiday. Yes, they complain a little about it, but in the end, they are happy to make their family (and the men) happy on that day.