Don't Be a Turkey: Ten Suggestions for a More Peaceful Thanksgiving Celebration
|This is not your house. You don't have to be like them.|
As a man, I have never understood the fascination with fine dining accessories people pull out one day every year despite their fear that grandma's crystal soup ladle might get cracked by the gaggle of tweens racing between the kitchen and the den. Someone might remark on your nice china, but mostly it will be covered in gravy, so don't freak out. What is this, Downton Abbey?
4. No fights at the dinner table.
If you want to take your political, religious or personal fights outside after dinner and determine a winner through feats of strength of a wrestling match, by all means, but don't start shit at dinner. Bring up Obamacare or abortion or Atheism or that time 20 years ago when you caught your brother and your girlfriend having sex in your bed -- particularly if she is now your sister-in-law, ew! -- at mealtime and you will be banished to the kids' table or the garage. You may be forced to wash all the dishes or listen to your Aunt Myrtle talk about her cat for two hours. Save that business for comments on news blogs and Jerry Springer.
3. Separate people who don't like each other.
And while we're on that topic, hosts, be smart and plan your seating early. You wouldn't sit a previously married couple together at a wedding, so why would you put the two aunts who have hated each other since birth next to each other? Unless you are just an instigator who loves to start stuff, prevent problems before the start and put them at opposite ends of the room if you have to invite them in the first place.
2. Be nice to the host.
This is good etiquette at any time, but it is particularly true when someone has allowed a hoard of ravenous friends and relatives to descend upon their home and devour everything in site, while arguing over the remote and generally making their lives a living hell for the day. Help them with the dishes. Offer to assist in the cleanup effort. At the very least, offer a heartfelt "Atta boy!" at least a couple times during the day. It goes a long way towards making them think you are a decent human being even if you and I know the truth.
1. Don't overstay your welcome.
If you are the only one left after 10 hours of partying and the host continually yawns, looks at his watch or turns off all the lights and crawls into bed, this might be a hint that you need to leave. All good things must eventually come to an end and the longer you stay, the greater the chance those good things end BEFORE you leave. Don't be that guy. As the late great '70s rockers UFO once said, "Pack it up and go."