This year I said “No” to a Traditional Thanksgiving.

I said No to Traditional Thanksigiving Dinner

Is it wrong that this Thanksgiving I decided I didn’t want to deal with all the hassle? I mean I love to cook, but unless family comes to visit it’s usually just Marcus and myself. Last Thanksgiving, I slaved over the stove while also running back and forth to the lab juggling some pretty important experiments. While the food was great Thanksgiving just wasn’t enjoyable for me at all. I was running myself ragged to try to keep up with a tradition and what for? So we can say we did it?

This year I decided I wasn’t going to cook Thanksgiving Dinner. You read that correctly. I just didn’t want to do it. Instead, I was going to cook a homemade turkey pot pie and call it a day. Doing this granted me several things.

  1. I was able to easily go to the grocery store on Tuesday and get my ingredients which ended up costing less than $30.
  2. I didn’t have to stay up all night cooking.
  3. I was able to sleep in and lounge around the house on Thanksgiving Day.
  4. Dinner took me less than 2hrs to cook (45 minutes of that was baking time)

It’s taken a while but the more and more I buck against traditions the better my life has become. I  realized that the world’s traditions don’t have to be my traditions and because of this, I feel more in control.  One thing I’m completely over is how we allow society to dictate our actions. It’s Thanksgiving, so you gotta spend a third of your grocery budget on food then turn around and spend all day cooking it. It’s Valentine’s Day, so this is the one day all year where you’re supposed to pull out all the stops for the one you love because any other day just won’t do. It’s Christmas, and well duh you’re expected to spend money. To me, these “traditions” are endless cycles of unwanted pressure on you physically, emotionally, and financially.

Don’t get me wrong I enjoy holidays, but I enjoy them more when I’m allowed to do them at a level that works best for my household and the goals we have set for our future. Sometimes, people don’t get that, and they expect more from you than what you’re able to offer really.

Think about it. How many times have you gone out and spent money on something you really couldn’t afford because it was expected of you or you didn’t want to let other people down? This mindset is crippling, and we end up hurting ourselves more when we deny the truth of our situation in order to appear a certain way to others.

I have no problem telling people that I’m broke. Or using the word “No” as a complete sentence.  So this year, I bucked the system. I said “no” to going over my grocery budget, and I said “no” to spending hours in the kitchen.  We had a caesar salad,  turkey pot pie, and carrot cake for dessert and surprisingly the world didn’t end.

Do you feel pressure from a society driven holidays to go outside of your set goals and budget? How do you handle it?





  1. Sharon
    November 27, 2016 / 10:38 am


    You are a woman after my own have really made me take a hard look at my finances and why I feel the need to shop for “stuff”. Bravo to you for writing your own rules!

  2. Romonica
    November 28, 2016 / 12:43 pm

    Kudos to you for ditching tradition. I’m tired of tradition too. The same dish every year gets old. I’m a registered nurse so I worked a 12hr shift the night before Thanksgiving clocking out at 7am thanksgiving day so I didn’t cook. I went home and went to sleep until almost 4pm. My family did cook 1-2 dishes/desserts and they all came together and ate at noon. So when I work up, I got dressed and joined them. There was so much food, I got half full just by looking at it and so much food had to be taken back home.

    So for Christmas dinner and gifts, I’m ditching tradition. I may do a casserole, crockpot dinner, or some of my favorites (corn, French style beans, rolls, and baked fish).
    I put a lot of money aside in my budget for Christmas gifts this year. Last year for gifts, I made goodie bags for everyone that included candy, hand sanitizer, small first aid kit for both my church family and family at home. This year, I’ll be buying Christmas cards. I plan to buy a gift for my mom, my sister, and my cousin who support me all the time but especially this year while I was in nursing school. The extra money will be divided and given to a local stewpot, children’s hospital, and American cancer society. I feel great about the decision and supporting things that I’m passionate about: my community and working with the ill.

    • Melody
      November 28, 2016 / 2:32 pm

      I love this. Give to areas you’re passionate about. It’s not saying we’re not passionate about family and friends, but tradition shouldn’t be the only time we come together. This year we set a very strict limit on how much we were spending on gifts. It’s half of what we spent this year, but to me, Christmas is more about coming together as a family than exchanging gifts. Our Christmas dinner might be a lasagna because it’s easy to make and we can eat on it for a couple of days.

      • Romonica
        November 30, 2016 / 9:06 am

        Right! I’m good with vibes so last year I could tell who was truly grateful and who wasn’t and that’s ok. I just feel we splurge on things all year that most of the time we don’t need and you become such a bad person if dare not buy them a gift. Sacrificing 1year in 2012-2013 to study nursing to become a LPN and another year 2015-2016 to become an RN has been a blessing in its own. Anything worth having is working fighting for and the struggle was real doing those times. I’m at a place of content. I have what i need. Now just working on this debt and I’ll be even better.

  3. Christine Mayo
    November 30, 2016 / 9:01 am

    Love your spirit of simplicity , sometimes in the hustle and bustle of holidays we lose the main focus of family , friends and being thankful …for God blesses us everyday , not just particular days !! 🌼🌼

  4. December 2, 2016 / 8:50 pm

    Oh goodness wasn’t the lounge around on Thanksgiving everything?! However, I did cook for my family – just the four of us- and I still have a lot of left over turkey, you must share the Pot Pie recipe.

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