The Thanksgiving meal is romanticized as a time of family unity representing national unity. Since families are made up of humans, however, they oftentimes fail to live up to these idealized notions. The expectations for the meal to be unifying adds to the tension of celebrating the holiday, and many individuals have stories of Thanksgiving meals that ended with tears, angry words, or silence. If we understand that the meal is a ritual performance of our ideals concerning family, we can better respond to the emotions that may bubble up during the meal.
CONNECT: With whom do you usually celebrate Thanksgiving?
How have the roles in your family or group changed over the years?