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How we celebrate Thanksgiving, as told by 12 absurd stock photos.

Haven't you heard? It's Thanksgiving stock photo season.

How we celebrate Thanksgiving, as told by 12 absurd stock photos.

It's November. And, in America, of course that means ... Thanksgiving.

All photos via iStock.


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.

No one knows what he's looking at. (And it's probably for the best.)

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.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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When we think of what a Tyrannosaurus looked like, we picture a gargantuan dinosaur with a huge mouth, formidable legs and tail, and inexplicably tiny arms. When we picture how it behaved, we might imagine it stomping and roaring onto a peaceful scene, single-handedly wreaking havoc and tearing the limbs off of anything it can find with its steak-knife-like teeth like a giant killing machine.

The image is probably fairly accurate, except for one thing—there's a good chance the T. rex wouldn't have been hunting alone.

New research from a fossil-filled quarry in Utah shows that Tyrannosaurs may have been social creatures who utilized complex group hunting strategies, much like wolves do. The research team who conducted the fossil study and made the discovery include scientists from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Colby College of Maine, and James Cook University in Australia.

The idea of social Tyrannosaurs isn't entirely new—Canadian paleontologist Philip Curie floated the hypothesis 20 years ago upon the discovery of a group of T. rex skeletons who appeared to have died together—but it has been widely debated in the paleontology world. Many scientists have doubted that their relatively small brains would be capable of such complex social behavior, and the idea was ridiculed by some as sensationalized paleontology PR.

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2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.