Why a Pagan Does Thanksgiving

Baby 10

I am a ridiculously terrible, frantic, and nervous cook. Most of my successes are nothing short of amazing ... as in amazing that it was edible, much less enjoyable. So undertaking a whole day's worth of slaving over the stove and oven, spending money on a gigantic feast that we certainly won't finish, all in the name of a harvest that I already celebrated a couple months before for Lammas/Lughnassadh seems silly. After all, I've got Cherokee blood, and it's the Indians who taught the Pilgrims how to plant and harvest crops, but frankly, the Pilgrim/Indian relationship wasn't exactly sunshine and roses either.

But here I am, planning to do Thanksgiving yet again, and getting my children involved in the tradition of spending the whole day with Daddy while Mommy runs around like a chicken (turkey?) with its head cut off, so again I have to ask myself: "Why bother?"

I'm fairly sure the suggestion is one pound of turkey per person, or maybe two if you want leftovers. I've got a four-person family, so at the most, maybe I could justify an eight pound dead bird. But no. My landlord has continued to bring us 15- to 18-pound frozen turkeys annually. The first year, I didn't thaw it enough, had never cleaned out a bird before, and this one didn't have the pieces in neat bags stuffed inside. I spent almost an hour practically crying because my hand hurt from the cold mostly-frozen and stabby insides of the bird I was elbow-deep in, and still patently uncomfortable even doing this to a dead animal, trying to pry its neck out of its stomach cavity through its butt, and wondering what the hell I was doing and why, when turkey doesn't even taste that good in the first place.

The second year, I thawed the turkey (again, ridiculously huge) in advance, and the insides were in bags, so it was much easier, but I was so irritated with the process yet again that I never even cleaned the leftovers off the bone and just threw what we didn't eat away, and then felt terribly guilty.

So the past two years in a row, I've given the bird he brings to a neighbor (and if he reads this, now he knows -- sorry Dave!). If she didn't want it, I was going to take it to a homeless shelter. I just am not doing that again. Instead, I bought a precooked honey spiral ham and a very small turkey which I cooked in the Crock-Pot -- not the oven. Much, much more pleasant experience. I've also learned the fine art of following recipes, and have a much sharper knife that actually cuts things without brute strength (who knew?). My confidence in my cooking has improved over the years as well (it's been a little while since something was inedible!) and I was actually able to enjoy the fruits of my labor last year, while still doing the most important thing -- spending time with my family.

For all my whining about the holiday and complaints about it being novelty, I still do it. Pagan holidays focus on the changes of the planet, and are divided equally throughout the year, celebrating things like changes in seasons and sunlight. 

But just like Valentine's Day, I've decided I'm just happy to have another special day during the year to spend with my family, taking the time to stop with the routine and actually really focus on each other -- something life often gets in the way of. And now that I've become slightly more competent at cooking and can relax a little more, I can just enjoy the day of knowing that we can provide such a special meal and day for our kids, regardless of my opinions about the importance of the actual holiday itself.

What special things do you do with your family on Thanksgiving?

bonding, traditions, thanksgiving, food, family meals


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

Iamas... Iamasinglemom99

I have pagan friends that don't do this but instead do things like xmas since its close in date to whatever it is they celebrate at that time. I believe its the days getting longer again from what they told me. Not sure its an excuse to go to a big party which my kids always love to do.  I buy my food precooked though and just make the sides because like you I would rather spend the time with my family.

Karen... KarenRN429

I'm confused.

Thanksgiving is one of the few big holidays that has NOTHING to do with religion. So what difference does it make that you are pagan and celebrate it?

I see it more of an American celebration, akin to maybe the 4th of July. Why can't you celebrate your pagan holidays and still celebrate Thanksgiving?

Histo... HistoryMamaX3

Yeah- I have to agree with KarenRN... Thanksgiving has NOTHING to do with religion. Anyone can celebrate it in any fashion they please. It is a time to honor family and show gratitude for what we have.


But to your question- Thanksgiving is my husband's favorite holiday. We do ALL out for the big event and I will be preparing a full course meal for my family and some of our friends.

RanaA... RanaAurora

My point about religion was that the supposed celebration is almost identical to something that I DO already celebrate BECAUSE of my religion. :)

lovin... lovinangels

If that's a turkey in your crockpot you should totally brown it in the oven before you tuck it into the crockpot. Just put it in at 425 for 15-20 minutes.

RanaA... RanaAurora

That makes more dishes! LOL.

clean... cleanaturalady

You are  becoming a domestic goddess despite yourself, Christie. ;)

amile... amileegirl

"....and still patently uncomfortable even doing this to a dead animal, trying to pry its neck out of its stomach cavity through its butt,"


Carey... Carey2006


tazdvl tazdvl

We watch the parade and football.

1-10 of 10 comments