Unwanted Thanksgiving advice

November is here, and it’s time to give thanks for many things, like your health, your loved ones — and that Thanksgiving only comes once a year! I hope these Q.s and A.s will help you make it more the former than the latter.

Do I really have to go see my family? Yes, of course you do. You love them! Sure, it can be annoying to hear crazy Uncle Billy repeat how he came up with the “idea” for The Hunger Games before Hollywood ripped him off (apparently, he had a vision at the all-you-can-eat brunch buffet at the Cliff House). And when cousin Midge tells everyone how adorable it was when you forgot your lines and fainted during a sixth grade play, remember how lucky you are to have a family who cares enough to remember all those little tidbits of your life! Just make sure you let someone else handle the electric knife to slice the turkey.

I want to show my family around during the holiday. Where should we go? Before you indulge in your year’s most decadent (public) pig-out, show them the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge, charming Fisherman’s Wharf, and the enchanting Union Square. After dinner, limit your tour to the airbed, a nearby hotel or the hospital for a quick stomach pump. Gotta rest up for tomorrow’s leftovers!

I can’t stand seeing my siblings because we always argue. How should I handle this at Thanksgiving? It’s true: It can be tough to see the people who rolled you down the staircase in a laundry basket sealed with duct tape when you were seven years old, but isn’t it time to let bygones be bygones? Be friendly, loving, and avoid any topics that may cause conflict (like announcing that your sister once stole your parents’ car to cruise Twin Peaks, or that your brother hid Budweisers in your Barbie Dream House) — and then lock them in the bathroom while they’re using the toilet.

Should I invite friends to my family dinner? Though Thanksgiving is a fun holiday, it is also traditionally jam packed with family gossip (which can be boring unless your relatives include Lady Gaga or Kathy Griffin) and unsolicited complaints about things like hair, weight, and driving skills. After a few glasses of wine, you may even hear the real story about what happened to your childhood dog, Zippy.

As kind as it is to think of your friends who don’t have anywhere to go on Thanksgiving, it may be kinder to let them enjoy an iHop Turkey and Waffles dinner than put them through your family’s Annual Therapy Night. Remember that old saying, “If you love them, let them go” by Kahlil Gibran? Yep, he was talking about Thanksgiving.

What is the best topic to discuss at the dinner table to avoid any conflict? It’s difficult to find a topic that’s not controversial, unless you stick with the weather. Even the price of sweet potatoes may set off an explosive discussion about inflation, politics, and whether you should serve Tofurky next year. Surprisingly, current events, like George Lucas’s bid to build an art center at Crissy Field, could spark a hissy fit about preserving the coastline — and an all-out brawl over who likes Jar Jar Binks. So if you want to keep your Thanksgiving argument-free, stick with the weather and compliments, beginning with the stuffing. Sure, it tastes like puree of wood, but it’s better than eating crow. Or Tofurky.

Why do women usually stay in the kitchen on Thanksgiving? That’s easy: They don’t like sprawling out on a La-Z-Boy all day, drinking beers and watching multiple football games. And, of course, by staying in the kitchen they are much closer to the chocolate.

Why is the turkey never on time? Maybe the bus was slow. Maybe he never got your invitation. Maybe he doesn’t like executions?

How do I avoid feeling too full after Thanksgiving dinner? You can’t feel too full at Thanksgiving. The goal of the holiday is to overeat until you can actually feel gravy pulsing through your veins and you have to unzip your pants or change into that lovely floral-print muumuu. When you’re so loopy from tryptophan that you can barely respond to your own name — and not just when you’re being asked to help with the dishes — you’ll know your Thanksgiving has been a resounding success!

Send to a Friend Print
Sandy Fertman Ryan has written for numerous national magazines, including Parade, Seventeen and Cosmogirl. She is looking forward to her family's holiday twerking contest. E-mail: [email protected]

Upcoming Events

more »

SFMOMA | Yayoi Kusama: Infinite Love

Feb-Sep 1-7
Info »

Download the Current Issue: July 2024

Follow Us