Surviving Thanksgiving

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Graphic by Ashley Averill

Time with family during Thanksgiving can be the worst.

Ashley Averill

Since “Game of Thrones” ended, no one told us that “winter is coming.”

Instead of the crisp autumn air and sound of leaf blowers we normally hear this time of year, there’s a foot of snow on the ground and my long underwear is up to my chin. It’s like we went from Oct. 31 to Dec. 20 and just leapfrogged over November entirely.

With finals around the corner, work stress piling up, the frantic hunt for winter internships, claims of “seasonal depression” on the rise, everyone has strep, ebola or the flu, and mental breakdowns are happening left and right — it must be almost time for my favorite holiday. Not Christmas … Thanksgiving!

I don’t understand why people don’t like Thanksgiving. Nothing will make you forget your problems like the suffocating embrace of extended family time. Start thawing that turkey and setting the extra long table, big enough to fit everyone and their baggage.

Personally, I like my family, they’re not half bad. Do they drive me to drink or cry sometimes? Yes, but in the grand scheme of things, I’ve heard far worse horror stories from friends. This is what I tell them to survive Thanksgiving, and now you can too. 

As long as you have the right mindset about the whole thing and you’re not the biggest hot mess at the table, you can get away with just about anything, because everyone knows tensions are running high.

Stressed about school? Let out some of that by having a politically charged screaming match with your uber conservative, racist uncle. Hell, it’s better than listening to your hippie cousin complain that there are no vegan options and remind everyone for the 15,824,828th time that she’s vegan.

When your aunt begins the third inquiry about school and why you’re getting a degree in communication, remind them that, unlike their delinquent, high school dropout, failed musician, basement-living spawn who smokes like a chimney, you’ll actually graduate and find a career.

Tired of sitting next to your uncle who open-mouth chews, didn’t bring anything and feels the need to criticize your potatoes? Clear the table! *Gauge* Manual labor, amirite, but it’s all a smoke show to get you out of the room so you can take another shot in the kitchen. Grandma will see you as a helpful angel in between glasses of sherry and keep you in the will.

Speaking of shots, drink up, soldier! There’s no time like the present to drink copious amounts of alcohol. Even when your parents give you a dirty look, they probably won’t say anything because chances are they’re half in the bag too. For those of you who are under 21, a glass of Kroger’s sparkling grape juice looks a lot like a glass of white wine and LaCroix. Tastes like shit, but it gets the job done. Not a drinker? Sit in the bathroom and watch TikToks.

After dinner, say you’re going “Black Friday shopping.” You don’t actually have to shop though — you can consume questionable substances with friends behind a Walmart, hook up with a significant other who is also “Black Friday shopping” or actually go shopping. Whatever sketchy shit you’re into, just come home with a decoy shipping bag before dawn.

The colors I associate with Thanksgiving are brown, orange, yellow and blackmail. Every family has secrets and blackmail can be fun, like your cousin across the table whose eyes match the cranberry relish, or your brother’s girlfriend who is making like the bird on the table and hasn’t told anyone she’ll be eating for two, or your klepto aunt who is stuffing shit into her purse.

Still not sold? Thanksgiving has the best food of any holiday so sit back, unbutton that top button we all do it, don’t lie — and eat that delicious food. Most importantly, though, while they’re around, be grateful and give thanks to the things and people we have in our lives.