The Definitive Guide To Surviving Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving is upon us. The Holidays are upon us. You’re about to put on a good five pounds and you’re going to have more interaction with your family than you’ve had all year. God help you.

Questions About Your Love Life

Stay calm. Don’t sob into your wine glass. Don’t get angry. It’s just another year in which you are single at Thanksgiving and everyone in your family is starting to ask questions. It’s the ultimate, “Listen, I know you’re interested, but I just don’t feel like talking about it” conversation. If you are in a serious relationship, the questions will mount about the whereabouts of this mysterious significant other. Bringing your significant other to a holiday dinner is about as serious as you can get without saying “I do.” Questions about marriage and awkward acknowledgements that you are in fact boning on the reg out of wedlock will run rampant.

It could be worse, though. You could actually have to introduce you significant other to your entire family. The horror. My God, the horror.



Watching What You Eat

For every “Here’s how to cut calories at Thanksgiving dinner!” article I see posted on the internet, I intend to eat another helping of mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potato pie, turkey, green bean casserole and a jumbo glass of wine. Thanksgiving is one of those few days in the year where you are allowed to just straight up NGAF about what you put into your body. If you’re caring about what you’re putting into your body on Thanksgiving, you’re missing the entire point of American holidays, and America, in general.


I know more about sports than you do, so listen up. The Cowboys don’t exactly suck, but they’re not quite good, as is tradition. The Raiders are trying to trick everyone into thinking their undrafted rookie QB Matt McGloin is the next Tony Romo and HOLY GOD MARK DAVIS’S HAIRCUT. The Lions are actually good this year (maybe?), but their coach is an idiot. Aaron Rodgers is hurt and the Packers suck. The Ravens and Steelers both suck. All of these football games suck. If you’re not privy to the details of this year in pigskin, just drop a line about how Jerry Jones needs to be more “hands off” with the Cowboys or how everyone needs to chill out about Tony Romo. That should earn you some points or spark a gigantic debate, depending on how drunk your family is.

Your Job, Or Lack Thereof

This will be the toughest test you face all night. More so than talking about your love life or hiding the fact that you’re borderline wasted. The topic of your job will come up – several times. If you even so much as slightly complain about it, your relatives will scold you and tell you how lucky you are to have a job. If you tell people you love your job, some might consider that bragging and no one likes a bragger. Your best course of action here is to tell people that you’re working hard and getting great experience. Both of those things probably aren’t true by any stretch of the imagination, but if you put just the slightest touch of false confidence behind your words, the pride will be oozing from your family members.

If you don’t have a job, well, God help you. You’ll constantly have to tell your judging relatives about your “promising” interviews, your WordPress blog and all of the “networking” events you’ve been to in the last few weeks without looking like a huge loser. I’ve been unemployed (but I was working 30 hours a week at an unpaid internship, despite my Uncle Tim repeatedly telling me that didn’t count) during the holidays and my god, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. The best course of action is just to grin and bear it.

Hiding Your Hangover From Black Wednesday

Depending on when your family begins their Thanksgiving dinner, you are going to have to strategize. If you’re in one of those strange families that begin celebrating at lunchtime, you’re in big, big trouble. My advice to you is stuff a fistful of Advil into your mouth and just hope the tryptophan runs its course. Mid-afternoon might also be a little tough, considering you’re right in that sweet spot of your hangover where the physical pain has subsided, but you’re fully engulfed in an accelerated, hellacious panic attack around your family members. If you’re in a normal family that eats an actual Thanksgiving dinner, like the pilgrims did while holding the natives at musket-point, then you’re in luck, you’ve navigated the turbulent seas of the biggest drinking night of the year and came out unscathed. Pop that third bottle (or box) of red and soak in that sweet, holiday buzz.

Dish Duty

Call me an idiot, but I kind of enjoy doing the dishes. Hear me out on this one. The idea of manual labor in general turns me off, but I like sitting at the sink and shooting the breeze with one of my cousins. Catching up, telling stories, reminiscing. It’s like playing catch with your dad, except your fingers get pruny and you smell like Dawn for the rest of the night. One person washes, the other one dries. It’s a reciprocal relationship, a bonding experience between family members. I like to be a blob on the couch for about 20 minutes, get my nice post-dinner buzz going and then go help out at the sink.

What To Give Thanks For

For the love of God, whatever you do, don’t say you’re just thankful to be alive. That will send your family into a tailspin of worry and depression that will end up haunting you for months, maybe years. For the better part of the immediate future, you’ll get worried phone calls from your aunts and “just checkin up on ya! :)” texts from your cousins.

Here’s what you should give thanks for: You have a job (hopefully). You don’t live in Syria or anywhere remotely like Syria. You got a world class education. You are intelligent enough to understand what these words mean. You have high-speed internet access.

It could be worse. Happy Thanksgiving, you little jerk.

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Brian McGannon

What do I love? I love happy hour, a good golf tan, and getting moderately drunk during dinner.

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