Surviving Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving can be a trying time for a lot of people. Often there is a lot of traveling in a very little time. People tenuously connected by common ancestors interacting for the only/one of the only times all year. Food and alcohol loosening tongues. Nowhere to go back into the other room and back again. That one relative who INSISTS on calling it Turkey Day.

Personally, I like me some T-gives, but I get why others don’t. So here I am to help out all you haters and sufferers out there.

Their happiness is a lie. They're just pretending to make it through. They get it. (photo from

Their happiness is a lie. They're just pretending to make it through. They get it. (photo from

-          Alcohol is your friend. And your enemy. It’s complicated. Like your relationship with your sibling. You know the one. The one who always undercuts you in front of everyone but can make you laugh like no one else? Yeah, that one. That’s alcohol. So, you know, treat it with the same kind of kid gloves.

-          Learn to love football. Or at least learn to stare at a television playing football without sighing and rolling your eyes. Staring at football will save you from all manner of conversation and awkward silences.

-          You don’t need to enter into every political conversation. I know it feels like you do, but I promise you don’t. Uncle Sven’s opinions on Black Lives Matter are noxious, yes. And his opinions on Obama were before that. And his opinions on those kids with their pants sagging before that. And so on and such of. It’s time to entertain the possibility you aren’t going to change his mind or put him in his place. It’s time to accept that just looking off in the middle distance and waiting for him to finish is probably a more effective way to get past it.

-          Everyone likes pictures of babies. If you have no babies of your own, pay a friend to let you take pictures of theirs. Deploy baby photos whenever you need to distract or achieve abrupt subject changes.

-          Resist your parents’ desire to put your accomplishments against that of your cousin. Trust me, your cousin hates that her parents are doing it just as much as you hate that yours are.

-          Drag your significant other to your dinner. I know you think you’d hate for them to see your family at your worst, but it’s bound to happen eventually and, hey, maybe you two can sneak off to make out when Grandma awkwardly begins to struggle aloud with the concept of transgenderism.

-          Choose one of two approaches: do not discuss religion at all or REALLY lean into it. Declare yourself as having recently converted to Scientology, Jehovah Witnessism, Islam, Seventh Day Adventism, Mormonism, or some ancient religion that was on the decline during the BC era. Basically anything that’s too foreign for them to even wrap their minds around. Dare people to try to engage you on it. Watch them shrink and shudder.

-          Do not choose this day to announce you are pregnant at 15, leaving your spouse, going to jail, or other similarly momentous and life changing events. Keep it on the positive tip. If you can’t, you have my permission to fake it.

-          Do encourage your uncle to tell that long and rambling story about the time he stole a cow from a rival high school. Yes everyone has heard it before. No, it has never been as funny as he thinks it is. That’s ok, it eats up real estate and time and even if it means you spend the next 20 minutes zoned out and bored, at least it gives you a little respite.

-          Do eat the stuffing with sausage in it. It’s Thanksgiving people. Now’s not the time to screw around.

-          If you are a vegetarian, don’t do the above. I’m not trying to make you betray your values. But don’t try to shame the omnivores amongst you,

-          Omnivores, don’t give the vegetarians in your family a hard time about their dietary choices. This is a holiday built around the consumption of a large bird and the use of its juice to pour on other foods. This isn’t their easiest day.

-          Eat dessert. A little or a lot. Just…give yourself permission to ingest some joy.

-          Don’t call it Turkey Day. Seriously. Don’t do it.