How to survive Turkey Day with the family
Published: Sunday, November 18, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
In just a couple of short days, most of us will be traveling back home for the Thanksgiving holiday. Even though your professor promised a quiz before we all departed, half of your Tuesday classes will be empty. By Wednesday evening mostly everyone who will travel home will finally be home. Let Thanksgiving begin.
Skip ahead to Thursday. The family has arrived at your doorstep. Grandma and grandpa, of course, arrive an hour early. She promptly pours a vodka-rocks and he a scotch: clean. It’s going to be a good day.
Uncle George and Aunt Emily ring the doorbell only 30 minutes late and beat their record from last year. It comes as no surprise, however, because little cousin Tim has finally learned how to dress himself, which means the only hiccup in the plan was little Mary-Lou’s dirty diaper.
Once your sister arrives with her new boyfriend and brother with his fiancé, mother sets the table.
The volume level in the house rises exponentially, two bottles of wine are already missing from the pantry and the bread is just starting to brown.
It’s time to sit, eat and converse, but the scene has become a bit overwhelming. This happens every year and always takes its toll on your wellbeing. However, this year you want to survive.
The key is preparation and planning.
First, charge your phone well before everyone arrives and make sure nothing’s blocking that little built-in camera. Group texts save me from every crazy family event and if there are pictures involved it makes it all the more entertaining. So start one with a couple of friends to document the weekend and keep each other sane. But remember, no phones on the table, please.
Another thing you can do to prepare is make a list of things you’ve done this semester in your head before you sit down with the older members of the family. They’re still so excited and proud that you’re at university and want to hear all about this fall semester. For you first-years, this is crucial. Grandmother will want to know all about the people you’ve met, and grandfather perhaps about classes. Telling him, “It’s just like high school,” will not go over well. Remembering a couple of good stories will allow you to carry on the conversation and please everyone around the table.
Finally, and my favorite, is pace your dinner. As hard as this may be when a succulent turkey is laying in front of your plate, resisting the temptation to stuff your face for a few seconds and then be miserable the rest of the evening has several perks. First, of course, you don’t feel horrible halfway through dinner. Secondly, people say that eating slowly will help you realize when you’re full. However, let’s be honest with ourselves and say we’re not too concerned with all of that.
Most importantly, if you always have food on your plate and a little room left, you can take a great big bite when someone asks that awkward question you wanted to avoid. This works, and I do this all the time when my grandmother asks me if I have a girlfriend yet.
So good luck this Thanksgiving holiday, and have fun with family or friends or whoever you’re with this holiday season.
Graves is a junior majoring in communications and religious studies. He can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.