How Poly Families Handle Thanksgiving

2 min read
Photo by lucas mendes on Unsplash
Photo by lucas mendes on Unsplash

One of the most perplexing challenges of polyamorous relationships is Thanksgiving Dinner etiquette.

Monogamous couples must decide between spending the holiday afternoon and evening with one or the other or both spouse’s parents and family, or holing up with only themselves and their children and executing a stream of calls and texts to extended family and friends from the sanity of their nuclear family bunker.

But what is the thoughtful polyamorous partner to do when several family celebrations must be taken into consideration?

An unscientific anecdotal survey of poly people sheds light on several interesting aspects of this annual social conundrum.

Disapproving monogamous parents and other family members often shun poly partners, greatly simplifying holiday planning. But sometimes, approving families welcome poly participation. If there are several invitations, which poly partner’s family entreaty is accepted? How better to exacerbate holiday tensions than to surface the question of whether some polyamorous partners are “more equal” than others.  Is there an accepted hierarchy that prioritizes social relations with outsiders? Or do we draw straws?

Friday Is the Night for Poly Family Dinner

A common poly strategy for Thanksgiving involves each individual of the polyamorous circle spending the Thursday holiday with their welcoming or unaccepting or unknowing birth-families and friends, and then gathering with all the poly members on Friday night for their own celebratory family dinner. The weekend can then be spent in joining in celebration with larger holiday gatherings of the extended polyamorous community.

The universal human sentiment regarding family holidays from the Fourth of July to Thanksgiving and Christmas seems to be a deep desire to preserve the joy these celebrations brought in childhood and pass that joy on to their own children, even as the troublesome social and historical origins of these observances become known to us in adulthood.

Love of family overcomes all the social negatives, seasonal inconveniences and etiquette anxieties to which we insist on subjected ourselves.

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