The Turkey is Arbitrary

Does turkey really have anything to do with the success of Thanksgiving?

My vote is no. In fact, I find the entire turkey component of Thanksgiving to be completely arbitrary.

In it’s original form, Thanksgiving was held by Pilgrims to celebrate a bountiful harvest. A celebration of gathered vegetables; turkey may or may not have been present. Thanksgiving has since evolved into one of the most underrated holidays around. It is filled with food, family, and football, and the only expectation people carry with the holiday is that they eat as much as they possibly can. It’s a symbol of a 4-day weekend of freedom. A time to tie up loose ends, and for family to be together. All in all, it’s a pretty swell occasion.

Without a doubt, Thanksgivng is a great day, but does turkey really make a difference in the scheme of things? Would the holiday be any different if you ate Pizza on Thanksgiving? What about a burrito from ? For me, probably not. I don’t think I’d miss turkey one bit.

I would, however, miss the Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Green Bean Casserole and Jello Salad. While my indifference to turkey is well documented, my affinity for the side dishes knows no bounds. I savor every bite of these scrum-diddly-umptious side dishes. I enjoy them so much, in fact, that I hardly even eat the turkey.

In recent years, I debate whether I should eat any turkey at all, but I always feel pressured from family members to “eat turkey… it’s turkey day”! Thanks for the commentary uncle Roger, I’m glad you’re in the spirit of “thanks”-giving advice (you see, what I did there was combine what I intended to say “giving advice” with the holiday I am talking about; Thanksgiving. Hilarity ensued!)

Much beyond the original Puritan intentions of our beloved Pilgrims, references to Thanksgiving day have simply gotten out of control. It started out as Thanksgiving. Simple, elegant, wonderful. Then it became Turkey Day. Clever (that is, if you’re a 50 year old accountant with no life whatsoever, and you’re so detached from reality that you find that clever, then yes, it’s clever) and to the point (I guess) if you believe that the main focus of the holiday is Turkey. I’m actually fine with calling it Turkey day. It’s the gross overcommercialization of the holiday in subsequent years that has really bothered me.

That all started with Snoop Dogg’s “Turknizzle up the hizz dizz nizzle shizzle feast up in yo mama’s ass crack beeeootcch” Thanksgiving special on MTV. Slightly over the line, but it’s Snoop Dogg, and since he hasn’t made anything of substance for 12 years now, we give him a break. The Chronic and Doggystyle were such great albums, that he’s got a solid 15 years where he can cash in on that success without having to show any discernable talent whatsoever.

It keeps getting worse, however. Much like Snoop, the pioneer of this crazy Thanksgiving naming trend, and his rap career, imitators followed. First was DMX’s blacks only thanksgiving. Then came Ja Rule’s blacks only thanksgiving a year later (proving my point that Ja Rule patterned DMX’s career completely, just a year after). Not long after that, Cash Money records released their “rolls on dubs with my beotch while I be eatin the white meat of her turkey titties” and it became number one on the singles chart (of course, due to censorship, the radio title became “turkey”). These were all steps in the wrong direction for the holiday.

While Turkey’s hip-hop overexposure was certainly sending the holiday’s naming convention into a downward spiral, it wasn’t until the death metal crowd caught on that things got out of hand. First, there was “Evel Muther Phuckers” (you see, the cool thing to do in death metal is to give your band a name that means one thing, but spell it wrong… on purpose!!! This is much like the naming conventions of KoRn, Limp Bizkit, Staind, and Linkin Park, only the people who play death metal are not pussies). EMF’s single, simply titled “Thanksgiving” had some quite disturbing lyrics. It went something like “rrrooorrrr roorrrororor rororoororor Turkey rooroorrr roroor Mashed rooorro Potatoes roorororo Dad didn’t hold me enough as a kid, so I’m lashing out at him by joining a death metal band rooooaaarrr rroororor”. Tame compared to many others, culminating in the song by a band named (it’s actually more of a symbol) releasing their song “Thanksgiving in hell”.

Yes, with Thanksgiving becoming more overexposed each year, we need to take a stand against all of these alternative nicknaming schemes. It started out with Turkey, which is the worst part of a thanksgiving meal (other than the “can” berries), and escalated out of control from there.

So, for this and future years, I ask that you simply refer to the holiday of Thanksgiving by name, and don’t try to be a hero and invent something clever like “Turkey day”. It may start out innocently enough, but before too long, you lose sight of what we’re really here for, which is to celebrate the bountiful harvest of the Pilgrims in 1621.

About Jeff Sauer

I started blogging in the year 2000, and go in spurts of inspiration followed by long dormancy. I love writing, and your comments keep me going, so comment!

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  1. Jeff- I am with you about the turkey. I much prefer the side dishes! A friend of mine serves lasagna at Thanksgiving. Maybe I’ll go there next year! Love ya, hope you had a nice time with the fam in St CLoud 🙂

  2. How would you feel if Chipotle came out with a scrumptious turkey burrito?

  3. There is no way they would ever introduce a Turkey burrito. It bothers me that you would even suggest such a thing. 1) Turkey has no place in Mexican cuisine. 2) Turkey would probably taste pretty similar to chicken, so why introduce such a similar product. 3) Chipotle is perfect, why would you ever change it?