Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Four Ways To Survive Thanksgiving With Relatives

The tableau is all too familiar by now. In fact, some may say it even borders on the cliche: Family members come together to "enjoy" a meal. After a few uncomfortable shuffles in their chairs, some awkward eye contact and clanking of silverware, the most popular topic of conversation is decided upon.

The Turkey.

Yes, he's quite a popular fellow, apparently, inspiring awe and unifying people across politics, race, religion, etc. He can calm all that tension and fuss.

But, I'm not naive. I'm a modern girl, after all, and I do understand that these are stressful times in which we live. Even if we're *thisclose* to our family, the holidays can no doubt be a tough time, full of unknown and surprisingly minefields -- and mindfields (pun intended). We're forced to navigate a sometimes-uncharted territory of feelings, personalities and eccentricities that, if we're not very, very careful and delicate, could translate to one very uncomfortable and looooong day for everyone.

So! If you'd like to enjoy the Day of Thankfulness beyond the standard Turkey Talk, follow these four tips. They'll have you wishing it was Thanksgiving every day of the year. Well, maybe not every day, but you get the idea...

1. Games, games, games: No, I'm not talking about emotional games here. Set out some classic games to play after dinner -- or before, if you're desperate -- to diffuse some of that tension. We did this a couple years ago and the time just flew by!

2. Reminisce over family photos: As long as they're not the embarrassing ones that will cause everyone to make fun of you, of course! Family history, especially those happy memories of yore, unites people. I mean, one minute your grandmother is nagging you about getting married and the next she's back to being her adorable self, telling you about the wild trouble she'd get into during weekends at the beach with her friends in the '50s. See? Problem solved.

3. Make the conversation a competition: It's no secret that family can bring out the Olympic competitor in all of us, so why not make things a little more interesting? How about the first one to say something negative has to clear the table or help with the dishes? I pretty sure that will seal everyone's lips really quickly.

4. One word...Netflix: Seriously, if all else fails, pop some popcorn, pick a movie (one that the majority agrees on...remember, no fighting, please!) and just chill on the couch. Like family photos, people become united around the television, especially when Netflix is involved. We've spent countless hours binge-watching shows like House of Cards, Orange Is The New Black, Damages and Bloodline. Also: Three Nostalgic Movies, 100 Best Releases on Netflix and The Best Movies of 2015. Like I said, Netflix is just the gift that keeps on giving.

There you go, friends! Now you can go bravely to those family gatherings tomorrow, knowing that you're armed and ready with all the knowledge and armor you'll ever need to combat any sticky family situations. What other tips would you add? What's worked for you in the past? What hasn't? I'd love to hear... xoxo

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