So first they roast a turkey, right, and then sometimes they put other birds inside the turkey and roast those too, and they call it a turduckoose or a turchicken or something. And then they get in line with all their cousins from Arkansas and wait to cut pieces out of this red, wobbly jello from a can, and then they cover the turkey with the jello and eat it all together. Also, you’re not supposed to season the turkey when you roast it because then the seasoning will overpower the taste of the jello.
The goal is to make the turkey as dry as possible so that the jello can rehydrate it more thoroughly. It’s a metaphor for how the Native Americans rehydrated the earth after the pilgrims came and ruined the land by trying to plant corn. The jello is red because it’s a symbol for blood.
Before you eat, you’re supposed to go around the table and give thanks for something, which I think is also something Christian families do at dinner in general but during Thanksgiving everyone does it and you have to try and subtly outdo each other. So if your sister says something like “I am thankful for my acceptance to Yale,” your brother will probably follow that by saying “I am thankful for my family, because family is the ultimate gift of life and it is more important than any other pursuit,” and you should follow that by saying “I am thankful for my internship at Goldman Sachs, because it enables me to provide for my family, and family is the ultimate gift of life and I will follow whatever pursuits which enable me to protect my family.”