[…]where my extended family had assembled and the scent of roasting turkey and sweet potatoes pervaded the house. After the meal, while the adults talked and watched football and drowsed, the children would go outside and play beneath the gray skies, the smell of woodsmoke and damp fallen leaves in the air. I knew I had attained a certain level of maturity when I found myself wanting to stay and listen to the grown-ups talk rather than hurrying through dinner to play with my cousins. All of these memories come back to me this time of year, tinted in the earth-tones of late fall, and now I even think back fondly on the interminable football games and my great-grandfather’s grave presence. These days I enjoy partaking in the rituals of Thanksgiving with my own family, though with the passing of all my grandparents and the dispersal of my parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles throughout the country, it will never feel quite the same.

Despite this newfound appreciation, I still cannot help but feel some ambivalence about the holiday. First, as it is currently practiced, there is a lot of decadence associated with Thanksgiving[…] gathering around the television to watch overpaid athletes toss a ball around (and all the advertising that goes along with it); the Macy’s parade, which is essentially a three-hour-long commercial featuring mediocre and degenerate pop music stars and idiotic daytime TV hosts; and the aptly named Black Friday, a ghastly consumerist extravaganza that now begins the evening of Thanksgiving, depriving retail workers of even one day of respite. While some of these traditions might have been wholesome at one point in time, they are now particularly egregious examples of late-imperial excess.

There is also the politically charged nature of the holiday. On the one hand it is celebrated by civic nationalists as a kind of multicultural lovefest between Indians and Pilgrims, an expression of American unity, and a day to give thanks for our diversity, sacred freedoms, and democracy. On the other hand, the holiday is vilified as a celebration of colonialism and genocide. There is a little truth to both sides; while the “original” Pilgrim Thanksgiving of 1621 was marked by concord between the settlers and the Wampanoag, this peace was highly tenuous and followed by years of bloody war that, according to some estimates, killed 30% of settlers and half of the Native population of New England. The story of the 1621 Thanksgiving is therefore a mostly factual tale of cultural cooperation, albeit one that was doomed to failure. Whatever the case, for a dissident, Man of the Right, and integral traditionalist, there is little to celebrate in these events, at least as they are presently interpreted.[…]

An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving — Counter-Currents