Whether you love it or hate it, Thanksgiving is definitely one of the most highly anticipated holidays of the year. From the basted turkeys to the abundance of pumpkin pie, many of us make the long-distance commute to see relatives and enjoy what should be a happy, calm and satisfying reunion.
Unfortunately, that's not always the case and next thing you know you're trying to stop a fight over who makes the best greens and debating how much salt is too much when making a gravy. Sometimes the dinner talk can get a little too close to home. Either way, we've got you covered with a few tips on how to survive the Thanksgiving madness.
Curate a Playlist
It's a known fact that music affects our mood; it can get us super hype or in the deepest of feelings. Either way, most of us can agree it's a pretty powerful tool. To help put everyone at ease before the weird dinner small talk, set the mood. Get on Spotify, Soundcloud or even just kick it with YouTube and bump a playlist. Depending on what your family is like, you can cater the sound to the mood – you can't go wrong with a little background noise. If you're unsure what to play, check out some of our top picks this week. Don't forget this instant classic.
Make Allies / Bring Buffers
This tip is not just applicable to Thanksgiving but could be applied to any potentially stressful situation. For the most part, people get their act right in the presence of new company. A lot of the time, bringing up old beef just isn't worth it when you're trying to make a good collective impression on your guest. If you know there are one or two people at the dinner table who are prone to making less than savory comments, or you simply don't want to be the odd one out, then maybe it's worth DM'ing a friend to come through and ride the evening with you. Even better if you know someone who could do with a family experience across the holiday season.
Even with music and a close friend nearby, some family members are just nosey – they can't help it. Whether it's school, clothes, relationships or asking about your recent haircut, they will find a way to pry and you have to find a way to say no. We recommend responding to questions with questions or drawing attention to mundane news stories; an article you read about bees, or even talk about the music in the background. If you're not the focus, then you're pretty much safe.
Talk About the Food
At the end of the day, the reason why you're all gathered around the table is to eat and be thankful. Even if the spread is not quite to your liking, focus on the meal ahead. Sometimes the small things blow over when everyone starts to chow down. Honestly, when those potatoes and greens hit, nobody will want to say a thing. In cases like these, we also recommend loose clothing, in case you replace small talk with pie and stashing up on some Tupperware for the leftovers. A few hours of stress in exchange for a week's worth of meals? Not a bad deal when you think about it.
Ice Ice Baby
We all know someone who uses Thanksgiving to bring out that old bottle they've been saving during the year. There's no harm in joining in, but pace yourself – where necessary load up on food first. If you spot them tipping their cup a little too much – ice 'em. Ask to pour their drink and put a little ice in it – whatever it takes for them to keep it together. If it's really that bad, just throw in some tap water. At best, they'll complain, say some funny things and fall asleep, which you can use as ammunition for next year's holiday meet up. Stock out your freezer. Ice is a life saver.
If You Can't Beat 'em, Join 'em
If you've tried everything, and I mean everything – the music was too loud, the food didn't quite have that kick or even your so-called buffer has turned against you, then you have every right to throw some shots. It may not be the wisest thing but hey, if you can beat 'em, clapback and return to eating. Remember, it's just a day.
Here are a few retorts to try in case things take a turn for the worse.
In case you're stuck for dinner ideas, Pringles released a Thanksgiving dinner set to make cooking a little easier.