It's Thanksgiving in Canada this weekend, and for many, this means turkey, cranberry sauce, and awkward conversations about politics with your weird uncle.
Thanksgiving in history (and on TV)
Thanksgiving is traditionally positioned as a time to be grateful for what we have. The holiday calls back to a mythic past, "the first Thanksgiving," when settlers broke bread (or more accurately, maize!) with the Indigenous inhabitants of this land.
Of course, history's a great deal more complicated than that, and with 2021 marking the first annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, people across Canada are paying more attention to settler and Indigenous relations. Thanksgiving brings these relationships to the forefront.
On TV, Thanksgiving's often portrayed as a family dinner free-for-all: the kids are extra-picky, the parents are stressed, and grandma's had too many glasses of wine. Wouldn't it be such a relief to just.. skip Thanksgiving? After all, we're in Covid times, and it's still a little risky to get together.
Quality time with loved ones
Even if you're trying to avoid a dinner-table war zone, you should still make time to visit with your family and loved ones.
Loneliness is a serious problem, especially among young adults. Studies at Harvard and elsewhere have shown that young people are hardest hit by loneliness during the pandemic.
The only way to combat loneliness and isolation — and escape the downward spiral these feelings can cause — is to embrace the people close to you. Parasocial relationships with Twitch and Insta are all well and good, but nothing beats real, intimate connection with people who love you.
Your chosen family
Except, maybe you don't like your family, or you don't get along. Well, you're not out of luck, doomed to stay home in the quiet dark. You can take charge of your life and your relationships!
There's a concept in the queer community of the "chosen family." If you can't get along with your biological family, for whatever reason — politics, religion, gender identity — you can instead choose new, more nourishing bonds. Focus on loved ones who love you right back.
Filling your cup
The point is, human beings like us need social time with our loved ones! When your cup is running low, you need to fill it up.
If you're lucky enough to be in a position where you can gather with friends and family safely this Thanksgiving, that's amazing! Sharing a meal and a laugh in-person is incredibly powerful for strengthening bonds and beating loneliness. Plus, you'll probably come away with a ton of leftovers!
If you're not, well, at least it's the 21st century! We've all become certified experts in Zoom calls and Facetime, so make use of that expertise and gather 'round the virtual table. Sure, it might be a little awkward, and screen time's not exactly good for you, but you'll thank yourself for gritting your teeth and soldiering through. Just give it an honest shot before faking a connection error!
Quality time with loved ones is critical for a healthy, happy life. Thanksgiving is a good opportunity to carve some time out of your day to reconnect with the people who matter most.
So whether it's a quick phone call, a family dinner on Zoom, or a full-on, long-weekend get-together, do yourself and your loved ones a favour, and fill your cup together!
Happy Thanksgiving, all.
Check out some fun Thanksgiving memes