November 01, 2022 3 min read
Holidays are the best, that said, they can also bring out the best and the worst in people, particularly around the Thanksgiving table. We’ve all been there, navigating both happy and awkward moments… Mom’s disappointment after spending hours in the kitchen making a not-so-perfect turkey. An aunt who inevitably gets tipsy after one glass of wine. Grandpa complaining about his aches and pains. That noisy cousin who’s always good for a laugh. The socially awkward in-law. And why are you always seated at the kid’s table?
Family. We can’t choose them. They drive us crazy, but we still love them. With Thanksgiving and family celebrations around the corner, here are a few tips for avoiding drama.
Photo credit: CottonBroSpilled drinks, a broken vase, last-minute guests, hurt feelings, silly arguments—they happen. The best approach is to take things in stride and minimize disruptions. Anticipate mishaps and emotional triggers, try not to take sides and help diffuse tense situations, if and when they bubble up.
Photo credit: Nicole MishalouIf the goal is for everyone to have a good time, prepare a few topics to help start a conversation, put newcomers at ease or steer the conversation in a more inclusive direction. Avoid polarizing topics and opt instead for good humor and kindness.
Photo credit: Mat BrownNever underestimate the genius of seat assignments. They help prevent disagreements, cliques and gives outsiders the opportunity to bond. Place people who rub each other the wrong way at opposite ends of the table, or at separate tables. Seat a shy person next to someone who's easy to talk to or great at putting others at ease.
Some adult conversations around the table, may not always be appropriate for kids, especially for impressionable or sensitive children. Give the kids their own space to be themselves, chat and have fun. Set up tables so younger cousins can bond with older ones or make friends with new guests.
Photo credits: Joe Calomeni & Jeshoots.com
Turkey, pumpkin pie and football. They go hand in hand. In fact, the holiday tradition took off back in 1934, when the Detroit Lions hosted the unbeaten Chicago Bears in a game broadcast nationally on the radio. Since then, high-school, college and pro games on big-screen TVs have become a staple at Thanksgiving celebrations. So don't fight it. Embrace it, turn on the game.
Photo credit: Lil Artsy
Set times (and expectations) for socializing, meal prep, and dinner. Cover downtime by providing inside and outdoor activities to help prevent boredom and engage guests. Plan activities where adults and kids can participate, such as tag football, corn hole tournaments, board games, cards, or charades.
Move furniture to make room for visitors, designate the tv room and basement for watching sports or video gaming, and set up canopies, or even better, pop-up WeatherPod® tents for hanging out outside, even if the weather turns cold or damp.
Photo credit: Monsterra
Focus on the good things, share what you’re thankful for, and invite everyone around the table to join in. You’ll be surprised how a little gratitude can lift spirits and bring people together.
Once the celebration is underway, it’s best to take a deep breath and let go of expectations.
This is the time for celebrating family and friends, taking stock, and acknowledging all the blessings of the year gone by. And even brief moments of chaos can make the holiday more memorable. So sit back, relax and take it all in. Happy Thanksgiving!
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