How to Get Through Thanksgiving When It’s Your Least Favorite Holiday

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We all look forward to having any holiday off from work – right? In fact, any holiday is time to be free from work and school commitments and spending time with friends and family, right? There is one holiday that I do not look forward too…Thanksgiving is my least favorite holiday. But as I got older, I learned how to get through it and maybe even enjoy it at least a little bit.

Thanksgiving Dish

Growing up

Growing up, I always remember it as the day we had to go to the basement of a retirement community where my parents’ best friends’ family gathered to celebrate. I never looked forward to the food and/or the people. because it just was always drab and boring. Football was not a sport I cared about, which was always on the 80’s tube tv and the atmosphere was just very dark and stinky. As a result, the Thanksgiving holiday was one of drab colors, turkey carcasses, food I really don’t like, and all staged in the wonderful retirement home atmosphere – I was a kid that felt like I was around the majority of ‘old’ people!

Not a Fan of History

It didn’t matter what Thanksgiving was all about. I didn’t like history in school so when I learned of the Pilgrims and Indians, I didn’t care and it was utterly boring! As a side note, I had to re-take final exams in history and government – HA! Another reason for Thanksgiving as my least favorite holiday.

By Jennie Augusta Brownscombe – Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal

The colors of the holiday are not bright. Autumn hues were not a favorite of mind and falling leaves were just an accident waiting to happen as they cover the ground, cars, road, etc. Soon the snow would fall and that just meant possible snow days for me. I just couldn’t wait for Thanksgiving to be over and the Christmas holiday to begin!

Twice the fun. Half the price.

Fast forward to adulthood

The food…I am still not a fan. I made a peanut butter pie once and now that is a requirement to bring. Out of all the other food, I will eat crusty stuffing, dinner rolls, some turkey if it is white meat and not attached to any bones, and of course Apple ‘pie’. (I really prefer Apple Crisp but unless I make it myself, that isn’t what is usually available). That is really it. I always hope there is a salad on deck because I will eat that but that isn’t always a given. Additional reasons why Thanksgiving is my least favorite holiday!


The company as I get older is so much better. It is mostly my family. My sister invites us all over and her husband’s family as well. Perhaps it is because I relate to everyone vs. when I was younger and the retirement home vibe, I apologize, was just not inviting for a kid. I also have been known to ‘take over’ some things. My sister’s house has a basement with TVs, arcade games, a pool table, and a bar. While many are watching football or playing games downstairs, I hijack the radio/stereo, etc. and start playing music. Not just any music though. Music that moves me and then I see my sisters get emotional too and that is what makes me enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday a little more than normal.

Music…yes there are songs that exude thankfulness and this is one of the reasons I get into the Thanksgiving spirit.

Two ‘Thankful’ Songs

My 1st Moodful Music Playlist post
Check out my 1st Music Playlist!

Call it what you want, music moves people. I am very connected to music. The words, the melody, the artist, there are songs that are very important to me and I love to share it and see how it moves others when they listen. My hope is that they feel like I do but most importantly it is really how I share my feelings at times.

Thankful, by Josh Groban

This song is on his 1st-holiday album, which in my opinion is one of the BEST holiday albums out there. It is a very emotional and moving piece. Because it is on the holiday album, I have a hard time listening to it before Thanksgiving because I generally refuse to play holiday music until the first true snowfall but this song really feels like Thanksgiving to me. Listen to it here on Amazon Music…the brief snippet may grab you!

Thankful, New Kids on the Block

Laugh – it is okay. From one of their most recent albums, this song really his my heartstrings. Most of the music on this album is dedicated to their most loyal followers, blockheads, family, etc. Like I have expressed in many early blog posts about the NKOTB cruise as well and my Moodful Music Playlist post(s), this band is so thankful for their fans (of course much of this is because that is how they make a living)! They exude this feeling throughout their music when you meet them in person, and all over social media, it is believable and you can feel it. Listen to a snippet here on Amazon Music.

Oh – and they released (what I call) a mini-album with this song on it. Then – they released the same mini-album with 3 new holiday songs on it! So – this song is on a holiday album as well – go figure!

Final Thanksgiving Thoughts

So, Thanksgiving is still one of my least favorite holidays. Now it ranks just below Halloween, which took over the top spot of my least favorite holidays. Forget the history and food that sometimes makes me ill to look at! To me, Thanksgiving is all about being around those you love (or can tolerate – haha) and not so much about the food, colors, etc. I realize that statement isn’t rocket science but it took me a very long time to get the memories of old out of my head!

Gorgeous fallen leaves taken at ground level
Photo by Pixabay

I have actually come to enjoy the fall colors, changing leaves, and brisk cold scenery. This year, our fall felt extended and the leaves stayed colorful and on the trees longer. Our NFL team is actually playing on Thanksgiving and while I am not a fan of the overall football scene, I do follow our hometown team. They are off to one of the best starts in a very long while along with our NHL team-SCORE!!

This is a link to this on Pinterest
Pin for later!

So this year, I am a bit more excited about the holiday – and you bet I will be blasting my music at some point during the day…even if it annoys some (the husbands and nephews mostly). And as always, in pure aunt fashion, I will be pulling my nephews aside to see what they know and think about Thanksgiving so I can give them a positive pep talk about it, especially if it is negative!

all the best and thankful, judean

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  1. I like how you are very honest in your post and although you don’t enjoy the holiday, you can be open, allow others to remain positive, and don’t need everyone to jump on your band wagon. There are just some of us who don’t need a holiday to remind us to be thankful 🙂

  2. I know the holidays can be difficult for some. And often those challenges are shaped by experiences in childhood and youth. Glad you are reshaping yours and that you desire to help your nephews avoid negative feelings about Thanksgiving.

    My personal take is this: I love the holiday SEASON, which for me starts on the first day of fall and ends on January 9th (my birthday). It’s one long extended time of celebrations and solitudes, discovering new things and finding reasons to rejoice.

    1. My favorite holiday – Christmas – I just love the weather, the snow, the cookies, giving….love love. My season begins with the first snowfall…which hasn’t happened outside my door but a couple of towns away I was driving in it… 🙂

  3. I love Thanksgiving – because I don’t celebrate it! As an English family growing up in California we never did it, and I’ve never seen any reason to start as an adult. So it’s an extra 4 day weekend for me, which is always nice and quiet because everyone is busy. 🙂

    1. Thank you Haley – greatly appreciated! While I may be a bit honest, my intent is always to help and have someone realize they are not alone!

  4. Great job trying to turn it around and focus on the positive! Each holiday holds different feelings for each of us.

  5. I’m a vegetarian so the food was never a big draw for me either. But my family has decided to forego formalities and now we just gather together for fun. Movies, pool parties (it’s still hot in California), and low-stress menu items have saved the holiday for me.

  6. Ever since my momma passed away in 2006, I’ve not been a fan of Thanksgiving either, and football’s not the same. We have a “hometown” team but we shall leave it at that…….lol. Thank you for sharing your reasons!

    1. Lisa- our ‘hometown’ team made the playoffs last year for the 1st time in 20 years… can’t be so bad (hahah). Sorry for your loss – maybe its time to change it up!

  7. Well, I can understand why it wasn’t your favorite holiday considering your history as a child. I am glad to hear you enjoy it more now that you can spend it with your sister.

    1. My family is wonderful but when I was younger, we struggled – so we made do with what we were able to do and go. So, I do know where it came from but it I still don’t really like the holiday.

  8. I love your post! Funny and a different perspective on Thanksgiving. So much pressure to like it and all that goes with it. I’m glad you stay true to yourself while honoring the holiday for those around you who do like it 🙂

    1. Thank you! One thing that gets me through a lot is making people laugh – I am glad you found the ‘funny’ in this. My mom and sisters read this and laughed out loud – they get me 😉

  9. I feel the same way about Thanksgiving as you! It is not my favorite holiday, it helped when I got married and my brother in law can cook really well! I always like to see a movie on Thanksgiving and run a race or go to a group fitness class.

    1. Lisa, the Turkey Trot here is the longest running (close to largest) race on Thanksgiving. I run a lot – but I do not do the race because there are too many people and I do a ‘bootcamp’ in the AM. A free class as long as you bring a food item.

  10. Dreading it in a small way this year, for the first time ever. Recently changed over to a plant based diet sooooo… Yeah, and I’m the cook. Going to do the traditional food for everyone else, so just making the best of it. While my parents are still with us, I’ll do it for them. They’ve done plenty for me over the years. It’s my turn. Glad you’re finding a way to enjoy the day!

    1. Good luck with the plant-based diet! I would have a hard time cooking food for others that you cannot have (or shouldn’t). Tag your it! Cook away – and if you have any plant-based recipes that are yummy – send them my way!

  11. I can understand having a holiday that you have to kind of make yourself like, I am that way with Easter. I personally love Thanksgiving, but it’s mostly because for me it was always a family thing. But I like the tips you give for those who don’t care for it. Beautifully written.

  12. Listening to Josh Groban as I write this … I had no extended family, so Thanksgiving was always a little underwhelming. But the three of us actually ate real food instead of boxed and packaged dinners and had something fun to drink instead of water of kool-aid. When I got married, I saw how a lot of the world did Thanksgiving with lots of family and amazing food, and I enjoyed the sense of community and togetherness that I never had growing up. Last year I got home from my stem cell transplant two days before Thanksgiving. I was exhausted, nauseous and could barely taste and eat, no family or friends came over. It was just me and my caregiver (and my brand new puppy!) but I have never had so much to be grateful for at Thanksgiving.

    1. Josh Groban is so soothing…isn’t he? I just love him! I can’t pretend to know what you are going through. However, you so eloquently write about it and I feel you in every post. You are so grateful and everyone who has read your stories really can learn from you!

  13. I would really encourage you to take another look at Thanksgiving as a lot of what you don’t like about it is actually myth. I give a presentation for the Daughters of the American Revolution on the true history of Thanksgiving and it is fascinating and quite frankly, empowering. I have a couple articles about it on my blog AND a free downloadable game for the dinner table that will also make your family time fun. Just some thoughts.

    1. I can understand your initial distaste for the holiday considering your childhood. I like Thanksgiving because it’s like Christmas, but more chill. I don’t like the stress or expense of figuring out what gifts to get everyone for Christmas. But Thanksgiving is all about food and family.

      No one in my house watches football, so that was never a thing. And we would often venture out of the traditional Thanksgiving meal and cook whatever we wanted.

      Growing up, it was usually just my mom, dad, sister and me, and all four of us would pitch in, spending the whole morning or afternoon in the kitchen cooking, then sit down and eat it together.

      Sometimes my mom would make tamales, or my dad would bring roti. I don’t care much for turkey, but I can make a mean green bean casserole. One year I experimented with a corn caserole. It did not go well, but it was still fun! This year, I’m thinking of making a vegan lasagna. I don’t eat much meat or cheese, so I figured, why not?

      I like Thanksgiving because I like to use it as an excuse to come up with new recipes and share it with friends and family. I didn’t mean to ramble so much, but your post had me feeling all nostalgic! I’m glad you found a way to tolerate the holiday.

      P. S. I don’t care for Halloween either.

      Thanks for sharing!

      1. I love the rambling! Christmas is my favorite holiday because of the weather (love snow), I bake ALOT of cookies and turn them into gifts and I love gift-giving, especially when they are meaningful! I try new recipes as well – mostly for the Christmas eve holiday because I host that at my house. Homemade pierogi’s and traditional polish food and sponge candy! I just love it all – especially when it is snowing and we have a fire going! Thank you so much for sharing!

  14. It was always one of my least favorite holidays growing up too. My family are all HUGE Dallas Cowboys fans so our day revolves around what time they play, lol. I’m not a big football fan either. I do look forward to the food now, and, now that I’m older, gathering with our out of town family when they can make it.

    1. Not too many kids when growing up – when you are the oldest. Also the younger kids were ‘annoying’. All immediate family are here so no visitors generally 🙂

  15. I was never a big history fan as a kid either. As an adult, I’m finding new appreciation for it though. And, Thanksgiving has become one of my favorites holidays!

    1. I think history in school is boring. Now learning history is a bit different, more exciting and gives you the fun information along with the serious! I am starting to have an appreciation too!

  16. Sad that your experience was so off putting! But I totally get it, I have that feeling toward other things. And Josh Groban can make ANYTHING better. 😂😂

  17. I am not the biggest on Thanksgiving either. Ever since I went off to college I have spent more of the holiday alone than with family. I always had to work so I could never travel with my family when they went off to visit other family. But I never really minded it. I am starting to like it a bit more now. But to me it is just another day. The past three years it gives me an extra day to get ready for Small Business Saturday.

    1. That is great! I do the shopping thing but that has even gotten out of control in the past several years with stores open most of Thanksgiving day and all night long – but if there is a deal….sometimes its fun just to watch others!

  18. hahaha! love that you ranked Halloween higher than Thanksgiving! I frankly do not get Halloween, but my son wants to be a ghost this ear. oh well… as to Thanksgiving – in Canada it is already done and gone!

    1. Here the Canadians come to shop during our Thanksgiving….and your Thanksgiving was our ‘Columbus’ day and we are so close to the border…we see then during our holidays and yours!

  19. Curious, why can’t the meat you choose not be attached to the bone? No judgment here, just wondering 🙂 I can’t eat dark meat myself. Too slimy of a texture.

    1. I have always had a problem eating meat off of a bone – unless it is deep-fried because although really bad for you, the crisp is awesome (now the air fryer helps with that from a healthy perspective). If I bite a bone (yes, fish can be a problem for me too), that is off-putting so then I just choose not to eat it. Somehow (its a mind thing) if it deep-fried, I guess I don’t notice the bone as much – strange I know!

  20. Sometimes it is hard to find things to be grateful for…Years went by until I realized that Thanksgiving was more about what I am grateful for and that the history of the holiday is important but not as important as staying focused on gratitude for the things and people in my life! I hope this year is better for you…and I love the peanut butter of my favorites! Thank you for your post, I am grateful for your honest thoughts!

    1. After I published this I realize there was no ‘gratitude’ or ‘grateful’ mentioned. I hope though that while reading, you get a sense that I am more thankful for the holiday-it just hits me differently. Music and family – enough said.

  21. I’m glad you have high hopes for this year. Your right about Thanksgiving being about family. That’s why I like it. Because I get to be with my family.

      1. I’m glad you’ve been able to make it more enjoyable for yourself! I am not a fan of the food but love the family time.

  22. I am so sorry you don’t enjoy Thanksgiving! It is really a great time of year to be thankful for all that you have!

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