Thanksgiving: it glows in our minds as one of the most homey, comforting times of year. Family gathers round, large quantities of protein and carbohydrates with minimal vegetables are prepared, and everyone enjoys the togetherness of sitting down to a delicious meal together.
And also: Cousin Sadie is running interference to make sure Grandpa Joe doesn’t start trashing the Browns in front of Sam’s New Girlfriend From Ohio. Oh, and it’s your turn to listen to Great Aunt Eloise’s theories about the shape of the earth.
Below, a few strategies to help you keep the peace this Thanksgiving. Before you have to round up all the butter knives.
- The Importance of Strategic Planning. Look, no one wants to be the barrier between Insert-Deranged-Relative-Here and newcomers to the family circle, but someone’s gotta do it. A good seating plan, enacted via cute turkey place cards, can save a lot of heartache. Sorry, Uncle Patrick. Just this one year. Promise.
- The Element of Surprise. Distraction is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal when it comes to flare-ups about whose fault it is that Cousin Mabel never got a good job. A beautiful and improbably decorated dessert should do the trick, but you needn’t be above setting something ablaze and then faux-panicking – loudly – if necessary.
- The Art of Negotiation. Most people will agree to your terms — if you can provide the right incentive to bring them to the table. In this case, that’s literal, as you slip 8-year-old Billy an extra piece of sweet-potato pie (or 20 bucks) to go sit on Grandma’s lap and tell her about school right before she can lay into her sister about her unfortunate new hairstyle.
- The Best Defense. Is, of course, a good offense. Haven’t you ever seen a sports movie? “Great Uncle Herbert, how is YOUR love life? Been seeing anyone since Bertha moved out? Is there hope for your marriage?” should shut him up before he gets to the importance of not living in sin. Or at least until the stuffing appears.
Make them laugh before you even arrive for the big feast! Invite them to "Slap Your Perky Butt" with a Thanksgiving card from Auto(in)correct.
Happy Holidays. And good luck out there.