Thanksgiving: Expectations vs. Reality

Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays of the year because it comes paired with some serious grubbing.

I mean, what's not to love about a holiday centered around food? Oh, and positive vibes, of course.

But, real talk: This day of thanks doesn't always go down smoothly.

Scroll below to find out some annual Thanksgiving expectations and their unfortunate holiday realities:

The Party

Expectation: Whether you're hosting or attending, the Thanksgiving party is filled with good times and even better food. Everyone's in the kitchen, eager to make this big day go as smoothly as possible. All spirits are high on this holiday and the good moods are reflected in the constant laughter and storytelling heard around the house.

Reality: You don't know what's worse, hosting a Thanksgiving party or attending one. If your family is throwing the bash, your parents have been berating you with chores all week to prepare for the dreaded in-laws. You've been put to work cooking, cleaning and errand-running and you're equal parts exhausted and totally over it. Alternatively, if you're traveling to another relative's house this year, you get stuck in bad holiday traffic. Tensions in the car are high as everyone impatiently sits on the bumper-to-bumper freeway. Tbh, you can't think of anything to be thankful for on a day like today.

Turkey head on Monica, Friends

(Friends via NBC)


The Family

Expectation: You're so excited to see your favorite aunts and uncles and to catch up with your cousins. Of course all of your faves will be there because what would a family get-together be without them?? You can really feel the love when you're spending hours laughing and reminiscing with your fam bam.

Reality: None of the cousins your age have RSVP'd, and the guest list mostly consists of distant relatives with whom you aren't too keen on conversing. You're receiving countless questions a la: "What colleges are you looking at?" and "How's school going," and "Do you have a boyfriend yet?" with the follow up, "Why not?!" This is an absolute nightmare and it's only 2 p.m. Where are your cousins when you need them??


The Food

Expectation: You can't wait for this holiday because the food is so mouthwatering and delicious that you look forward to the feast all year long. Everything smells great, looks great and obviously tastes great. The warm aromas fill the house with memories and everyone is in a good mood just basking in the scents of the holiday.

Reality: So it turns out Thanksgiving food is not really that great (but you can't tell anyone how you feel because you'll get major shade). By the time every side dish is prepared and the turkey is finally finished, half of the food has gotten cold. The turkey is inevitably dry—or worse, burned—and when you sit down to the meal you realize that everything sort of tastes like varying shades of beige… if the bland color had a flavor.

Rachel making a trifle, Friends

(Friends via NBC)


The Traditions

Expectation: When you stand up to take your turn announcing gratitude around the dinner table, you're eloquent, thoughtful and sincere. Every word out of your mouth touches your family members, and oh, look, mom is tearing up. Your parents don't know what they did to deserve such an amazing daughter, but here you are, the star of this Thanksgiving tradition. You're welcome, family.

Reality: What are words again? Addendum: What is there to be thankful for when you have a big test on Monday and your teachers certainly don't care that you didn't have time to study between family and bouts of turkey-induced sleepiness?? As you stand up, you forget all grammar as you attempt to be funny and clever, which only comes out as a jumble of embarrassing fragments. Your parents are mortified and so are you. It's practically the only thing you have in common with this family anymore.


The Viewing Event

Expectation: You're going to start your day with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and then follow up that annual tradition with a marathon of holiday movies. Everyone loves watching these timeless classics because they are excellent reminders of the holiday spirit. It's so cozy to bundle up on the couch with your favorite relatives and watch these fun holiday films.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

(via Shutterstock)

Reality: Football is on all TVs and you've already been yelled at for attempting to change the channel. You don't really understand why a sport that airs for an entire season has to monopolize this day that only comes around once a year. But you can't argue with football fans because they outnumber you. Maybe you can stream the parade on YouTube?


In order to help this holiday meet your high expectations, click HERE for eight things you should never do at Thanksgiving dinner.