How to make it through Thanksgiving dinner with your family
By Jillian McMullen, Staff Writer
Personally, I find family dinners cause a lot of unnecessary stress. Mine involve a ridiculously long bus ride out to the suburbs, hordes of screaming children, and a host trying to make everything perfect—and failing, of course. I can usually maneuver out of them with excuses of too much school work or a schedule shifts I can’t get covered. However, some family gatherings can’t be avoided—namely holidays. For those inevitably stressful days, I’ve developed a few strategies to help make them go as smoothly as possible, and with Thanksgiving coming up next week, I thought I’d share some of them with our readers!
Don’t talk about politics
Some people are lucky enough to share the same political beliefs as their parents, but for those who do not this is arguably the most important rule. Politics normally cause uncomfortable debate and can really ruin the upbeat atmosphere holiday dinners attempt to establish. Also, especially avoid talk of American politics. I think we’ve all had the same conversation on that disaster enough times.
Keep it short
Get in and get out. I normally try to arrive late and leave as soon as I can, because the longer I stay, the more opportunities I have for conflict. Although the “it takes too long to get here” excuse may not have justified not coming to dinner, the “I really need to catch this bus to get home” excuse usually works the best for getting you out of there the quickest—and with the least amount of questioning! You don’t want to make it too obvious that you’re trying to bail, so stay away from obvious lies like “I’m just really tired” or “I’ve got a paper to write for tomorrow.”
Like anything emotionally exerting, it’s good to take some time to chill out and re-center yourself. If you feel yourself getting frustrated by your aunt’s intrusive questions or your grandmother’s reminiscing of “better days,” excuse yourself from the situation to go somewhere quiet. A few minutes by yourself can really help to calm your nerves. Remember, you might only see your family a few times a year, so snapping at a relative hardly seems worth it.