Rachel Strange

I know what you are thinking. What nonsense am I’m saying here? Christmas is a figurative pop culture explosion. There’s blockbuster movies and a whole subset of popular music literally devoted to Christmas. There’s no such thing as sitting at home watching lifetime Thanksgiving movies or listening to Thanksgiving music. Get it together.

Okay, maybe you aren’t saying that. But I’m certainly saying it to myself as I typed the title to this column. When I think about my favorite holiday related pop culture memories, I think of Thanksgiving just as often, if not more so than Christmas.

I think of “Friends” and Monica with a turkey on her head and Chandler saying he loves her. I also think about the moment I realized how gross the idea of a raw turkey on one’s head was.

I think of the annual “Thanksgiving” New Girl episodes, and their ability use some great guest stars and moments to show us how even an adult child might try to “parent trap” their parents.

I even think about how much I love the various ways turkey takes over The Food Network every year or watching Mythbusters marathons with my siblings on Thanksgiving day.

Maybe it's because our Thanksgiving expectations are more realistic than our Christmas expectations. In any show where there’s a couple we root for, we hope for a big moment during a Christmas episode. If its a funny show or heartwarming show, we expect those feelings to be over the top at Christmas.

We expect that blockbuster winter movie to be great. If any of those things happen on Thanksgiving, we are pleasantly surprised. And that follows through in real life as well. At Thanksgiving you expect some good food, but there are no high expectations about the perfect gift or fun family moment.

At Thanksgiving you’re just happy you made it through the meal without arguing about politics. So, at least for me, I nearly always leave Thanksgiving being pleasantly surprised by the joy of it. I’m not expecting any lifetime movies or huge blockbuster to fill any voids on Thanksgiving. I can just be in the moment, enjoying a good meal with whoever I happen with be dining with.

Just like Chandler was being the in moment when told Monica he loved her while she had a turkey over her head. Which again, so gross. Monica was a chef. She should have known better.