How to Survive a Family Thanksgiving
- Article by Katie Lindeen
- November 16, 2011
Family dinner is one of the most dreaded moments of your Thanksgiving break. Even if you hide a flask in your purse and a joint in your pocket, it will, without a doubt, still be painful. The second you walk into the front door of your Uncle Dick’s house, you’ll be mauled with questions about your future, your boyfriend and your new haircut. “Is that haircut supposed to make you look like a dyke? I thought you had a boyfriend. Does this mean you’re a dyke now?”
After you defend your sexuality for several minutes, excuse yourself to use the bathroom (get an alcoholic beverage) because there are still plenty more curious relatives to come.
Aunt Peggy (the alcoholic) obviously wants to chat about the bar scene in Iowa City (or IC as she so proudly refers to it) because her youth is fading—and, despite the Botox injections, she simply can’t hide it. Tell her a few stories about how you’re far too busy to go out and spend the majority of your time at The Library (it isn’t a complete lie), she’ll grow bored and move on to questioning your sister.
Take this opportunity to go outside and get some air (take a smoke break). Regardless of what you’re smoking, make sure you walk a decent distance away from the house; you don’t want to risk getting caught in the act by the aunt who loves to lecture. Stop by your car for a stick of gum and a spritz of Febreeze (maybe eye drops too), and return to the party a little less agitated than before.
When the incessant questioning and hugging finally end, the appetizers are laid out for business. The classic layout includes the veggie platter with a disturbingly green-colored dip from Aunt Paula, the random array of nuts from Uncle Dick (the other Uncle Dick), the meats, the cheeses, the cracker platter and the chips and salsa.
By now, you should know to keep yourself far away from Paula’s dip because the second it touches your mouth, she will ask how you like it. You load your plate with chips and salsa (fully prepared to dump salsa on yourself if a quick escape is necessary), and start your search for your immediate family.
Casually dumping salsa down the front of your shirt is necessary sooner than anticipated when you need to dodge Uncle Bob's "What's your major?" question, but you take the hit and run to the bathroom anyway. You take another swig from your flask—correction: you take the final swig from your flask. How the hell did that go so fast? Drying your tears over the loss of your liquid courage and returning the dry flask to your purse (or in a deep pocket), you return to the overcrowded family room, hoping to find a minute to escape to the kitchen and fill your flask once again when no one is looking.
Eventually, a circle forms around the room and is connected by clammy, wrinkled hands. Before you can hide from the obviously mentally deranged circle, Aunt Paula grabs one of your hands and your sister takes the other. As Aunt Paula whispers to you, “How did you like the veggie dip?” Uncle Dick’s bellowing voice interrupts to start the “prayer.” Correction: he interrupts to tell you to start the prayer. Since when does the youngest have to lead the prayer? How does a prayer even start?
You briefly wonder if your grandmother had suggested this after learning the truth about the state of your out-of-wedlock relationship. Here it goes, “Dear God, I am thankful for the past 21 years of my life.” It’s worth a shot, right? Your sister laughs and Aunt Peggy responds with a loud hooting noise and says, “Amen.” Seconds later, Aunt Peggy whispers to you that she was, “wondering if you brought any Mary Jane, Reefer, Herb—you know…. pot.” Your night should go an interesting direction from here. And just think, dinner hasn’t even started.