In some way or another, we’ve all experienced the drama that unfolds whenever the entire family gets together for Thanksgiving dinner. Perhaps you enjoy the juicy gossip around the table or hate the endless bickering. Regardless of where you stand, the scene unravels with an unstoppable force that can be quite overwhelming for some people. Here at HC, we’ve gathered some tips and strategies to help you deal with this yearly event.
Locate a friend.
Perhaps your friend is a thousand miles away or sitting right in front of you. The key to this strategy is having someone you can share the experience with. If your designated friend is not present, text them a play by play of the scene. Tell them all about the horrors of your aunt’s cooking, or how someone burst into tears at the table. Share, share, share! Don’t keep it bottled up. You never know when someone might be going through a similar scenario.
Understand that this will be over soon.
The dinner drags on and on. It feels like you’ll never get out of this inferno full of screaming children and that snooping aunt, aka Mrs. ‘How’s College?’. One thing to remember is that it’ll be over in a couple of hours. Thanksgiving doesn’t last a week (even though the leftovers surely do). You’ll wake up the next day, and the drama will feel like a faint memory. Just hold on.
Concentrate on small pleasures.
Like Tallahassee from “Zombieland” (2009) said: “Gotta enjoy the little things.” Someone brought a pecan pie or vanilla flan, and it’s the best thing you’ve tasted so far, or maybe your cousin complimented the outfit you’ve been working on for weeks. Focus on that! Immerse yourself in the small aspects that aren’t tinted with family drama.
Voice your discomfort.
If you’re feeling especially uncomfortable, it’s completely okay to speak out. You don’t like what your grandmother said? Tell her. Let it be known that you are not okay with whatever’s going on. Remember that your wellbeing is equally important to the wellbeing of those around you. Be warned though, that this could also spark more drama. It’s up to you to decide what suits your specific circumstance, and if speaking out is in YOUR best interest.
The previous coping strategies might work for certain people, but others could feel that these are simply not enough. If all else fails and the situation can’t be salvaged, remember that it’s okay to walk away when the event turns too chaotic and affects your mental and/or physical health. Thanksgiving dinner should be an occasion worth attending, not your personal hell. Chin up, my friend. There’s always next year.