What’s Wrong With You: Tips for a Guilt-Free, Vegan-Accessible, Harmonious Holiday

turkeyLife Isn’t Fair

Dear Judith,

I live on the opposite coast from my folks and have never gone home for Thanksgiving as it was never an important holiday for us growing up, compared to the Jewish holidays. Yet now that I’m in a serious relationship with a guy whose family is very into Thanksgiving, suddenly I’m getting a guilt trip from my mother that we “always” go to his parents (this is the second year) and never to her. Do we have to start alternating Thanksgivings to be “fair” to her?

Not Flying Home for the Holidays

Dear Not Flying Home,

Fair? Since when is life fair? You know what’s not fair? It’s Thanksgiving, half our country wants to turn away Syrian refugees, female politicians are judged by their outfits and hair—and not one single person has emailed me for advice on how to deal with sexist bigots at their turkey table. Nobody has crotchety, right-wing, Fox News-watching uncles anymore? Out of all my hundreds of readers, nobody has a Trump supporter in their clan? What the hell.

Tell your mother you’ll visit her when she grows up.

Thanks for nothing,


Dear Judith,

I’m attending a vegan Thanksgiving dinner hosted by a friend. I’m not a vegan but going for the company. I’ve been asked to bring dessert, which is my specialty, and I want to bake a turkey-shaped pie. But could that be interpreted as critical of their choice to be vegan? It would be a fun challenge for me to bake, but I don’t want to risk anybody taking offense.

Not a Made-Up Question*IMG_0001

Dear Not a Made-Up Question,

Your vegan buddies can probably handle it, but have you considered how a turkey might feel about having its form appropriated—caricatured, considering we’re talking about pie—for your personal amusement? Haven’t turkeys been through enough since the Pilgrims decided to continue humanity’s long tradition of fall harvest festivals here in the “new world,” and the natives stopped by to see what was up? Does anybody even enjoy turkey, or have we wrapped our tradition around it because its blandness panders to the masses and it’s an easy protein before we go shopping?

Please, your friends are trying to create a safe space for the jowly fowl. Bake a pie in the shape of Ann Coulter if your mood is so transgressive. Unless you are Ann Coulter. I doubt she’d write to me, but contributing a gobbler-themed treat to a vegan Thanksgiving sounds like something she’d try.


Not Today, Thanks

Dear Judith,

If I practice gratitude every day of the year (or try to), do I need to be extra grateful on Thanksgiving? What if I’m unemployed and recently dumped, neither homeless nor hungry, but people being grateful for their wonderful lives depresses me? If I volunteer somewhere I’ll feel even worse for avoiding my family.

Practice Makes Imperfect

Dear You,


Sweetheart, you are the Thanksgiving spirit embodied! See what I said above about life not being fair, and avert your eyes from all the Black Friday nonsense. Stay beautiful.


This Just In

Dear Judith,

I received a marketing email from Verizon with the appalling hashtag “thanksgetting.” Is protesting on social media enough, or is it time to switch providers?

Contract Expires Soon Anyway

Dear Contract Expires Soon,

Can we pretend Verizon is your racist, sexist relative spewing noxious views with stuffing-flecked gravy, and you’re asking me how much to tolerate before you take the bait and argue back?

And then let’s pretend I can answer that.

Wishing You a Wonderful Weekend,

*The next sentence is true. The preceding sentence was false.


What do you think?

About The Author

Judith Basya

Judith Basya is Heeb's Literary Editor. She writes an advice column (and an advice blog: www.asktinymom.com) so her psychology degree doesn't go to waste. If your problem can be solved in <140 characters, she's on Twitter. If it's complicated, please email Judith @ Heebmagazine.com.

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