The Big List

by the paper

We at the paper love Thanksgiving, perhaps the most American holiday besides Independence Day. Hell, Thanksgivng probably is the most American holiday, because, really, what is more American than gluttony and killin’ injuns? Now, we can go all hoity-toity revisionist on your ass and lament upon the atrocities that came as a result of Manifest Destiny, but we’d rather eat turkey and watch football with people we hate spending time with. So, in commeroration of the holiday that allows us to commemorate so heartily, here’s the paper’s big list of favorite Thanksgiving traditions.

Fabricating History


Well, as the saying goes, when given the choice between the myth and the truth, always go with the myth. It’s a tale we all know so well, as taught to us by our kindergarten teachers: When the pilgrims first came upon what was to become America, the greatest country this planet ever did or would ever see, they were faced with many a hardship. There was naught but wilderness, no infrastructure, no geographic knowledge and no bodegas. Survival for the pilgrims was an arduous struggle—a crucible, if you will (and I will). But, fortunately for them, they were not without help. The benevolent Indians aided the pilgrims, bringing in the neighborhood welcome wagon and teaching them to grow corn, shoot turkeys, and assisting in the construction of authentic Lincoln Log Cabins®. To celebrate, they pilgrims and Indians broke bread the following year to give thanks to one another for the friendships they had forged. They ate heartily for eight nights, even though there was only enough food for one, and all were well fed and prepared for the long winter ahead.

Don’t get me wrong, the truth of the matter brings a tear to my eye as well: the Pilgrims were offered aid from the Indians, who were in return compensated with firearms, blankets with smallpox and a budding ambition that brought about the disenfranchisement, relocation and massacring of the Indians for the next two hundred years, leaving the Native Americans of today highly impoverished with only minimal solace to be found in the entitlement to stock in Foxwoods casinos. But that’s a bit too PG-13 for our nation’s precious youth, and Thanksgiving is meant to be an affair for the whole family. It’s so much more convenient to just tell a simple fairy tale story and save the disillusioning truth for the teachers of secondary education. That is what America’s all about, after all.
by Bobby Cardos

Hunting Wild Turkey

Drunkest Part of Thanksgiving
The Drunkest Part of Thanksgiving

Development projects are a strange anomaly, especially when the addition of McMansions and cul-de-sacs to one’s formally rural neighborhood drives the surrounding wildlife out from their natural habitats and into the yards of suburban houses. I had become accustomed to seeing deer and the like standing confused outside my bedroom window, but the recent destruction of a rather large portion of woodlands just down the road from my residence drove a new specimen out of the woods and into the streets: the wild turkey. At first my friends and I were a bit befuddled by the appearance of these creatures (who never seemed to roam during the summertime but came out just in time for Turkey Day) and struggled to cope with their addition to our stomping grounds. A close friend of mine seemed to have a plausible answer: hunt them.

Now, the wild turkey is an allusive animal if one is awkward and prone to disaster, but the pursuit was always a hearty one. Of course, once the turkey sensed he was being chased he would make right for the woods, which made the hunt all the more difficult, as the turkey’s small and nimble body easily maneuvers through the fallen trees and jagged branches. Running through the woods and armed with various weapons, my friends and I resembled Natty Bumppo and Chingachgook , except instead of the swift and intelligent elk, we were chasing the slow and stupid turkey…which always outran us.
by Alex Gibbons

Cooking the FEAST

Canned Goodness
Canned Goodness

Now, I know I’m one to toot my own horn, and I’m totally about to do it again. Over the last three or four years, I’ve undertaken a larger and larger piece of the cooking for Thanksgiving. It’s myself, my father, who has continuously become crasser and more inappropriate in his old age, and my sister Melissa, who feels like she has to tell us what to do and drink wine at 11 a.m. in order for the meal to be prepared properly. I have emerged from their combined tutelage relatively unscarred mentally, though missing a few millimeters of fingertip on either hand.

Though my parents divorced when I was young, November was always a time when my family has been able to mend that which hath been rent in twain. There was never any Christmas for us (we’re Jews, not poor), and Thanksgiving served as the first time when all members, my father and step-mother, mother and step-father, grandmother, sisters, and myself were all able to come together and sit at a table as a singular, though at the time quite estranged, family. And I felt good about it, more so than I had thought, because they came to eat food that I had cooked for them.

In a rare moment of paper sentimentality, I actually cannot think of something that gives me the same feeling as eating a meal that I prepared with a group of people whom I care about. It is, to wax cliché, very much a labor of love. Nothing was nicer for me than when I first cooked a big dinner in my tiny shit kitchen in Walsh Hall for all of my friends. It might take all day and you might have to wash your hands a hundred times, but isn’t that the case with all wonderful things in this world?
by Max Siegal

Anxiety and Stuffing

What A Reach
What a Reach

For a whole bunch of reasons, I’m actually pretty scared about going home for Thanksgiving this year. The anxiety is almost reminiscent of that first pilgrimage home after the beginning of freshman year, caught amongst people that I was supposed to love for my whole life, but now unsettled by the fact that my life had changed. Stranded in the same bullshit holiday sweater, my side-burns had now grown down to my jaw, my hair was dyed black and I had gained thirty pounds; it was almost like I was trying brand my newly found independence onto my newly fat body. These memories are more than surreal at this point, as I awkwardly tried my best to navigate the newly foreign family unit and generally just deflected any notion of sameness or nostalgia that came creeping towards me. That first Thanksgiving back is a total head-fuck for everyone I think, where the comforts of the past boil too closely to that need for autonomy.

This time around, I’m feeling that same kind of churning but from a decidedly different perspective. Recently graduated and without much direction, I am not prepared for the concentrated blitz of questions, kisses and concerns that is about to take place. Rather than feel the need to distance myself from the specters of the past, though, I am so strung out and lost in the “real world” that I’m scared I may collapse at my dining room table and never get up. I just want to crawl up next to the fireplace and become a baby again, engaged and amused by the uncomplicated customs of holiday. I want to be part of the family, part of the meal, even to the point of being shoved up that hollow, vaginal turkey cavity and sloshed around internally with all the corn bread and gravy nibblies that make Thanksgiving so delicious.

And that brings me to my favorite Thanksgiving tradition: STUFFING. I fucking LOVE stuffing. So much so that I want to be it. I just want to bathe in this shit and use stuffing soap to wash my body. I love stuffing SO much that I want to build an astronaut’s suit out of stuffing, get launched into the unknown ether of blackest space and explode into a thousand pieces. And then I’d like to have my remains picked up and jammed into another turkey’s hole.
by Ben Jones



Let’s face it: no one gives a shit about Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving functions solely as a gluttonous pre-gaming ceremony for the peak season of holiday consumerism that is Christmastime (the real American holiday). Literally the day after Thanksgiving, every store from Manifest to Destiny and Mason to Dixon is pumping out the latest butcherings of already abhorrent Christmas carols (how many versions of “Jingle Bells” do we really need?), and the only reason it is the day after Thanksgiving is that most stores are closed on the day itself. Thanksgiving is a Christmas tease as well as a means to minimize the unpleasantries one would otherwise have to deal with at Christmas. Think about it: we eat Turkey to remind us that in a mere month we will be eating ham; we make pine cone crafts to remind us that we will soon be standing around a murdered pine tree; and we gather with our extended family so we have an excuse not to visit that overbearing and out of touch aunt from upstate during the main event of holidays. Don’t get me wrong, Thanksgiving is certainly better than your average day, but when placed in its proper context of last Thursday of November, it is clear that it is simply a part of the rising action towards the climax of Christmas. That’s what’s so great about it. No one cares about Thanksgiving, but no one has to care about Thanksgiving. It’s an unobtrusive holiday, one that doesn’t make us take our eyes off the prize, allowing us to focus on the important things: Black Friday, Gift Cards, Socks, Presents, A Christmas Story, complementary colors, kitschy advent calendars, superfluous lighting, nativity scenes, the Charlie Brown Christmas Special, lying to children about miraculous gift givers, and poinsettias. Yep, that about covers it. That’s what Christmas—and subsequently, Thanksgiving—is all about.
by Johnathan Dirge

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