The year of Mansgiving

The other day, I was thinking about the saying, “my family is so weird.” Honestly, I feel like most people who say that bold statement have pretty normal families. Sure, they might say some outlandish things or have a strange habit or two, but have they really earned the title of weird?

We’ve got some bonafide weirdos in our family. My mom is pretty normal, so are two of my three younger brothers. Sure, they have their quirks. But for all intensive purposes, they have no trouble fitting in and being acceptable members of society.

As for me, my dad, and my youngest brother, we are the weirdos. It would be a normal occurrence to hear my youngest brother rummaging around in the freezer late at night for his underwear. I thought the best way to make friends on my cross-country team in high school was reciting haikus of the things we passed on our runs. And amongst other brilliant ideas, my dad created and executed the first (and last) Mansgiving.


Exactly one year before, my dad finished the last of the Thanksgiving dishes and declared that next year, there would be no dishes.

Note the disposable football theme.


“Thanksgiving food isn’t even that great anyway,” my dad said to my mom who had cooked all day. “We spend all this time on a meal that doesn’t even include our favorite foods and spend hours afterward cleaning up. But not next year. Next year, we’re having Mansgiving.”

I think my mom assumed he would forget about the whole thing, so she foolishly agreed. But the idea had taken hold of my dad’s brain and the dishes had truly traumatized him. When November 2014 rolled around, he was ready. Complete with a grocery list and plans for all the Mansgiving festivities.

The frozen pizzas had been bought and the Mansgiving poster was being created. My mom finally came to terms with the fact this was actually going to happen. So she and my grandma decided to have a normal Thanksgiving dinner at my grandma’s house. Hunter (the oldest of my younger brothers) would have to join the normal dinner because he hadn’t shown enough enthusiasm for Mansgiving. Henceforth, he had been banished.

I, however, played my cards right and was invited to both Mansgiving and normal Thanksgiving. I even made it onto the official Mansgiving poster. And I must say, between the two, I’d declare Mansgiving the winner.


The only rule (besides Hunter not being allowed) was no dishes. Everything was 100% disposable (sorry, Earth). Paper plates, plastic cutlery, soda cans, and a paper football tablecloth for class.

The menu featured:

  • Pizza
  • Pizza bites
  • Bagel pizzas
  • Chicken fingers
  • Buffalo wings
  • Shrimp
  • Subs
  • Chips
  • Veggie tray (optional)

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After everyone got their first round of food, they gathered together with thanksgiving to watch Lord of the Rings. At the end of the night, not one dish was needed to be done. A Mansgiving miracle.

Even during Mansgiving, it’s important to be thankful. In order of thankfulness: God, mom/wife, sister/brothers, HOME, friends, freedom, french fries, ranch.

The standard Thanksgiving dinner was tasty, but a little stuffy compared to Mansgiving. Plus, I think they were all a little jealous they hadn’t been invited to the event of the year. So jealous, in fact, that Mansgiving was banned from all future Thanksgivings.

If you’re thinking of hosting your very own Mansgiving, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Mansgiving works best if everyone in your family is both a) invited and b) on board. Even if your significant other says he or she is okay with Mansgiving, they might be bluffing… Best to make 110% sure.
  • If you feel the title, “Mansgiving” is a bit misogynist, feel free to change it. Both men and women should be welcomed to Mansgiving or Alternative Turkey Day or whatever you want to name it.
  • Make sure the menu includes everyone’s favorite easy-to-prep foods (the worse for you, the better), a formally agreed upon movie/series, and above all: NO DISHES
  • Burping, farting, and songs about old ships are encouraged throughout the evening.

There you have it, everything you need to know to start your own Mansgiving from anywhere in the world. What grand traditions we Americans come up with.

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