Snow White Doesn't Live Here Anymore

Laughter, pleasure, malice, and the pursuit of adult fun

6 Things Not To Do This Thanksgiving

Never say "Put the carving knife down and take a cleansing breath" to your wife.

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Since the remorseless cheer of holiday music is now rammed into our brains even before Thanksgiving—causing otherwise sane people to hum “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” at inopportune moments, such as during committee meetings or sexual foreplay (events that rarely occur together, even in the most progressive of communities)—people's nerves are already frayed. The fact that Thanksgiving coincides with Hanukkah makes it even tougher for folks who are "double-majoring" this season. It's all supposed to be delightful and fun but it isn't—not all the time, anyhow. In the interest of harmony, conviviality and personal safety, here is a list of stuff to avoid saying and do over the next couple of weeks:


  1. Do not refer to any woman with white hair wearing a red suit as Mrs. Claus. The white haired lady in the red suit is not Mrs. Claus. She is Janet Yellen. Call her Mrs. Claus and she will audit you until the reindeer come home.
  2. Be aware that you will offend everyone by greeting them with language at any point between November 20th and January 12th. If you say “Merry Christmas!” you will be accused of automatically imposing your oppressive religious beliefs on those who might not share them in a way that is not only insensitive but also degrading. If you say “Happy Holidays!” or “Seasons Greetings!” you will be accused of stripping America of its God-given rights as a fundamentally Christian nation and might be hit over the head with a random lamb from a public plastic manger. Best just to wave.
  3. Neither give nor eat homemade candy. Nobody really wants it and if you make it, you just want to eat it yourself, so go ahead. You’ll be doing your friends a favor by giving them a gift card for coffee, a bag of Kisses or a card saying “My gift to you is NOT giving you candy made by me and my toddlers, none of whom yet understand fully the concept of not sneezing directly into food, not putting their hands which have just been in the dog’s mouth into food and not licking everything they repeatedly use to handle the food. You’re welcome.”
  4. If you are thrown into abject and lingering despair by the fact that nobody—NOBODY—appreciates all the preparation, decorating and sheer super-human effort you put into making his or her holidays bright, stop doing it. Either do it for the enjoyment you get from it, or stop doing it at all. There, wasn’t that simple?
  5. Remember to eat all you want! You’ll just take those pounds off in January! HAHAHAHAHA, whew, HAHAHA.
  6. Okay, this one is for real: all festivals, all occasions for joy and all authentic fellowship are reason enough to have a good time if only we can allow ourselves to find the humor, pleasure and meaning in them. That comes, not from chintzy songs or over-sentimentalized pre-fab emotional scripts, but from the gift of true humanity we, at our best moments, celebrate.

Gina Barreca, Ph.D., is Professor of English at UConn, and author of It's Not That I'm Bitter: How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Visible Panty Lines and Conquered the World.


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