The Sunday before Thanksgiving I’d already fallen into the holiday abyss. I woke up worried about how many pies to bake. Normally, that could be a legitimate concern, but there were going to be only four of us for Thanksgiving this year. Why did I feel obligated to make, never purchase, a pumpkin pie? Honestly, I don’t even like pumpkin pie except as a vehicle for whipped cream. And my guests had already said they’d prefer apple. I wanted pecan. But isn’t pumpkin required?

I’ll blame Norman Rockwell, Martha Stewart, Betty Crocker, the Hallmark Channel, and even my mother. Our culture puts huge expectations on the holidays. Thanksgiving should be celebrated with at least a dozen smiling family members around a table loaded with an enormous turkey, lots of disgusting side dishes which are only prepared once a year, and several varieties of pies.

Rochelle Eastman is a Savage resident who writes for Community Voices every month.