How we celebrate Thanksgiving, as told by 12 absurd stock photos.
Haven't you heard? It's Thanksgiving stock photo season.
It's November. And, in America, of course that means ... Thanksgiving.
And if anything perfectly illustrates America's love for turkey, family, and people with super white teeth, it's Thanksgiving stock photos.
But there is one issue I have with Thanksgiving stock photos.
Like a lot of stock imagery, they're not always an accurate reflection of reality. Nor do they always ... make sense.
Like this woman, who appears to be napping on a pumpkin.
Has anyone ever napped on a pumpkin to commemorate Thanksgiving? Has anyone ever napped on a pumpkin period? Did I miss something in class about pilgrims napping on pumpkins?
In honor of Turkey Day, I skimmed through an array of stock photos to report what they get right — and what they get wrong — when it comes to Thanksgiving.
Just so you wouldn't have to. (You're welcome.)
Let's get started.
1. The "Angry Man with Knife vs. Innocent Turkey" Photo
What it gets right: Cooking and carving a Thanksgiving turkey can be a taxing responsibility — especially when your entire family is expecting the best meal ever. (Here are some tips to get the job done.)
What it gets wrong: Cooking and carving a Thanksgiving turkey is never so taxing that you need to murder the bird again. (If this is you, put the knife down and walk away.)
2. The "Family Sitting Way Too Close to One Another" Photo
What it gets right: Assuming you don't live in a mansion, sure, it can be a big task to find comfortable seating for every aunt, uncle, and grandparent this side of the Mississippi. If you're feeling overwhelmed, there are helpful ways to find the perfect spot for everyone to enjoy the grub and conversation.
What it gets wrong: Families probably won't double up in their seats when, clearly, the whole other end of the table is empty.
However, if the whole other end of your table is empty, consider inviting people in need to share your meal. It might sound like an awkward scenario, but there must be a rewarding reason why plenty of people and groups — including Humans of New York — do it for the holidays each year.
3. The "First Thanksgiving Reenactment" Photo
What it gets right: Yes, historians are confident pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians feasted together at some point in 1621. Hooray!
What it gets wrong: This classic throwback implies the first Thanksgiving was just the start of a blossoming BFF relationship between colonists and Native Americans. Of course, that is offensively wack. Not to mention, these outfits are less than historically accurate.
And while we're on the topics of pilgrims and outfits...
4. The "Prototype Pilgrim" Photo
What it gets right: Pilgrims were, in fact, humans. (One point for Gryffindor!)
What it gets wrong: They did not wear those simple black and white get-ups you see on everything. The colonists actually wore an assortment of colors — just like we do today (except with maybe fewer band logo T-shirts). And as far as those buckles on their shoes? Nope — wasn't a thing. I'm not sure how that became a trend, but let it be known the pilgrims' shoes were buckle-free.
It should also be noted that Native Americans are frequently depicted wearing absurd (not to mention offensive) clothing nowadays — especially around Thanksgiving. That "First Thanksgiving Reenactment" photo above? Yeah, pretty sure the Wampanoag Indians didn't wear khakis.
5. The "Cats Apparently Love Gourds" Photos
Oh, you didn't know that's a thing? It's definitely a thing.
What it gets right: We'll find any excuse to take pictures of our cats. This is a fact. And hey, if becoming a crazy cat lady/man makes you happier and healthier, you certainly shouldn't feel badly about it.
What it gets wrong:Nothing could have less to do with Thanksgiving than cats. (Maybe ... NASA? I don't know.)
6. The "Turkey Inception" Photo
What it gets right: Speaking of cats ... we'll also find any excuse to take pictures of our food — even if it means taking a picture of someone else taking a picture of their turkey. And that's OK! Capturing memories (of delicious food or otherwise) is a great way to remember the holidays for years to come. So take that camera phone out, snap away, and don't apologize for it.
What it gets wrong: Where are the filter options? It's 2015. An Instagram filter is mandatory when it comes to sharing pics of your turkey dinner because — let's be honest — dining rooms don't always have the perfect amount of natural light.
7. The "Smile and Stare Maniacally at the Turkey" Photo
What it gets right: We all do this. We stare at the turkey, salivating, as our mom/aunt/dad/cousin brings the bird to the table...
...except for this kid.
If the facts don't lie (they typically don't), Americans love their Thanksgiving turkeys. Like, love it enough to go out and buy 40-something million birds every year to feast on for the special day. So it's safe to say the maniacal stares above are completely accurate.
What it gets wrong: Let's face it — far too many turkey stock photos, this one especially, look waaay too perfectly golden brown to be relatable. It's probably plastic.
And yes, plastic might be better for the turkeys than free-range (as no actual turkeys are harmed in the making of a plastic turkey), but if you can afford it and don't like eating plastic turkey, consider opting for a free-range turkey this year. Learn the facts and decide if free-range is right for your family here.
8. The "I Overate and Now I'm About to Vomit" Photo
What it gets right: Americans may have big appetites, but — believe it or not — Thanksgiving still produces tons of food waste. In 2013, about 204 million pounds of turkey (including that leg above, I'm guessing) was thrown away over the Thanksgiving holiday, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. But it doesn't have to be like this! There are plenty of ways you can both curb food waste and help feed those in need this Turkey Day.
What it gets wrong: There's no way that plate would be that clean. Does anyone believe someone would take out a fresh plate only to serve one turkey leg to the man who's already passed out in a Thanksgiving food coma on the couch? I didn't think so.
9. The "Random Pumpkin" Photo
What it gets right: Like cats and snapping food pics, once October hits, we are obsessed with pumpkins and pumpkin-flavored anything. Seriously —obsessed! So it makes sense that a pumpkin is the star of just about every Thanksgiving photo we take.
What it gets wrong: Pumpkins don't usually chill out on sandy beaches or hang with a bunch of cold, hard cash (like ... what?). It's all about the context, people.
10. The "Is This What the Pilgrims Ate?" Photo
What it gets right: Pumpkin was a food available to the pilgrims, and it very well could have been at the first Thanksgiving.
What it gets wrong: BUT. At Thanksgiving numero uno, it certainly wasn't in the deliciously smooth, perfect pie form synonymous with modern Thanksgiving. As Alton Brown demonstrated in an episode of "Good Eats," if they did feast on pumpkin, it probably would have been more of a soup than a pie.
Come to think of it, many of the foods associated with Thanksgiving today weren't at the first feast way back when (or, if they were, they took drastically different forms). Turkey? That's a big maybe — historians believe seafood would have been more prevalent on the table. And potatoes? Meh, not so much. Pilgrims didn't even know they were a thing.
11. The "Jealous Dog" Photo
What it gets right: Dogs will sit there and stare with jealousy until every last ounce of that turkey is gone.
What it gets wrong: Actually ... most dog lovers will back me up here: This one pretty much nails it. Dogs are the biggest losers on Thanksgiving, the poor things. (Remember: Even though it's tempting to cave in while they beg near the table, don't! Lots of traditional Thanksgiving foods can be harmful — and even deadly — to your pet.)
And last, but definitely not least...
12. The totally necessary "Flashdance Turkey" Photo
Yes, as in, a photo featuring a turkey in that iconic scene from the movie "Flashdance."
One Flashdance turkey not enough for you? Here's another:
What it gets right: We try very hard to keep our turkeys moist (here are a few pointers to do it). At least ... I think that's what this super handy, relevant, and totally necessary stock photo is going for.
What it gets wrong: Everything. I really wish I hadn't ever seen these photos.
There you have it. Do you feel like a Thanksgiving stock photo expert?
Because you should.
Now you have all the tools to navigate November's endless newsfeed of Thanksgiving stock photos with the comfort of knowing not every pic gets every detail right about the holiday.
And that comfort is certainly something to be thankful for.