Thanksgiving brings us turkey, mashed potatoes, post-dinner naps, Netflix holiday movie marathons, and… breakups. That’s right, the season for giving thanks is also the season for breaking up. Thanksgiving breakups have become such a common part of life that they’ve even earned a nickname: the “Turkey Drop."
As Urban Dictionary defines it, the Turkey Drop “happens when a [couples tries] the long-distance relationship thing when they go off to university or college in September. Typically, when Thanksgiving rolls around and everyone goes home for the holiday, someone gets dumped. Hence the turkey drop.” However, relationship experts including Dan Savage assert that this phenomenon happens for out-of-college adults, too — because if you’re going to dump somebody, better to do it before you’re committed to sticking it out through the triple-threat of Christmas, New Year’s, and Valentine’s Day.
There’s evidence to supports that the Turkey Drop is real, too. Back in 2010, journalist David McCandless examined Facebook data and found that breakups spiked about two weeks before Christmas — as well as just after Valentine’s Day and in the spring. There’s even a made-for-TV movie about this phenomenon: Freeform’s Turkey Drop.
Although it might not feel that way in the moment, a Thanksgiving breakup is actually a good thing — if the alternative is one person gritting their teeth just to stick out the relationship until Valentine's Day is over. "It's silly and even a little bit cruel to stay with someone for longer than you should just because of the impending holidays,” Sofi Papamarko of Friend of a Friend Matchmaking in Toronto previously told Refinery29. And if you live together (or even just constantly hang out at each other's places), "breaking up prior to the holiday season might be a good thing — it'll give you time to abandon your shared space for your familial homes and let you figure out next steps.”
If you’re planning a Turkey Drop, or suspect one is coming your way, pay attention to another day on the calendar: Thanksgiving Eve. That’s the night before Thanksgiving, when everyone goes out (and maybe reconnects with their high school crushes) because they’re back in their hometowns and don’t have work the next day. If you’d like to soothe the breakup pain with a new hookup, this might be the day to do it.