Thanksgiving. That wonderful time of year when we gather around the table with family and friends to give thanks, gorge on carbs and try our best to not open up any emotional wounds that were incurred the previous years. We here at Motif wanted to provide you with a handy dandy guide for navigating Thanksgiving small talk and big family announcements. If you have something prepared to say, it will prevent you from saying what you really think (and we all know where that got you LAST TIME!!)
If your brother decides to come out of the closet, the correct response is, “I am proud that you have chosen to share that with us. We love you and this is a safe space for you to be who you are.” You should not say “I KNEW it! I KNEW it! I’ve known it for years. Dad, you owe me $50!”
If your uncle from New York decides to bring up deflate-gate for like the 500th time, and calls the Patriots cheaters, wish him a happy four-year anniversary of the “butt-fumble.” Then say “Check the standings. Scoreboard. Please pass the mashed potatoes.”
Your mom or dad or whoever cooked the meal is going to want to know what you think of the turkey. Even if they don’t ask you, they will want some feedback and affirmation. That is why they have been staring at you and raising their eyebrows every time you make eye contact as you eat. The correct response is, “This turkey seems even juicier than last year! What is your secret again?” You should not say, “Do you think Domino’s delivers on Thanksgiving?”
Your cousin who is graduating from college in the spring is going to want to talk to you his job prospects. You should offer to look over his/her resume and give some reassuring words about the job market. You should not say “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! Unless coal mining or barista is listed under your ‘special skills,’ you are probably out of luck! But congrats on all your student loans.”
Someone at the table is going to bring a new girlfriend or boyfriend, just like they do every year. You should do your best to make that person feel welcome at a table filled with people who have known each other their entire lives. You should not say, “Oh, so you’re the flavor of the week this week. Good for you! Did you already have herpes or have you two had that conversation yet?”
This list couldn’t be more timely, as the election results have deeply divided this country. Someone wiser than me once said to avoid religion and politics, and I’d like to advise the same. But this is Thanksgiving! You will be with family and friends, a circle of trust if you will, and the wine will be flowing freely and Aunt Mildred will surely be all hopped up on candied yams. You will not be able to avoid the topic. This is supposed to be a humorous column, but I don’t have anything sarcastic to say about this. People around that table are going to have different opinions and expectations from the results. You don’t have to agree with your family about politics, but you do have to love them. You do. Yes, it’s like the law or something. So try to avoid bringing up the election, and if you can’t, try to listen to each other’s opinions with an open mind and a caring heart. Agree not to agree, but love each other all the same. You will get through this Thanksgiving like you always have. Save the wishbone for me! Happy Thanksgiving everyone.