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Why I’ve Never Had Turkey On Thanksgiving

I’ve never had turkey on Thanksgiving. My typical Thanksgiving includes me, my parents, my best friend and her family all together, driving to some random place for three days. Ever since I was 6, my family and I have celebrated with her and her family. We have gone to Vegas, Big Bear Lake, Mammoth Mountain, Santa Barbara, Catalina Island, Palm Springs at least six times, and many other cool road trip destinations for two SoCal families. We have our own traditions for the holiday, including saying what we are thankful for, watching movies in the car, and talking about that one Thanksgiving dinner we had at Denny’s. 


When I tell people I’ve never had a Thanksgiving turkey, they are shocked. How? Why? I don’t know how or why, but I don’t miss it. I have my own unique traditions, and that is okay. When celebrating a holiday differently than most others, it can feel weird or like you are missing out. It is completely okay to celebrate in your own unique way. Whether or not you even celebrate these holidays, it is important to remember your traditions and beliefs are valid. 


In the United States where I live, Christmas is the primary winter holiday. There is no getting around that. But Christmas means different things to every single person. Some people don’t celebrate at all, some go to church, some only do “X-mas” with gifts and Santa, and there are so many other ways people celebrate. 


On Christmas, my family watches Star Wars. We go to the movie theatre, get Milk Duds and popcorn, and watch the newest Star Wars film. It isn’t very traditional nor ordinary, but to me it is a way to spend time with my grandparents and wear our favorite Star Wars gear.


Whether you celebrate a holiday at all or in a different way, it is incredibly important to remember that your traditions are great in their own way. Also, remember that even if you celebrate a holiday in the classic way, don’t judge others’ traditions or impose your beliefs on others. Everyone’s holiday traditions are unique. 


Often you can feel embarrassed or pressured to change to a more normalized celebration. You aren’t the only one who celebrates differently. I doubt there will be a turkey on my table come November 28th, and I am thankful for that, and all my “weird” traditions. I am also thankful for the photo below of me and my friends in horribly styled outfits in front of Denny’s. Thanksgiving 2009.

Ali Youel

Cal Poly '23

First year Journalism student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. I love dogs, fantasy football, and Netflix.
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