It’s that time of year again! Amidst the impending dread of final papers and exams, Thanksgiving Break offers students the chance to relax, recharge, and spend quality time with loved ones for a few short days. I, for one, simply can’t wait for the opportunity to disconnect from the mental, emotional, and physical stress of school by taking a six-to-eight hour car ride with four other humans and one dog to join my extended family for what will undoubtedly be a break filled with political debate, food/body shaming, and family drama that will make me yearn for the lab reports and historiographies which await my return.
If you fail to contract the flu in time for Thanksgiving Break (as I did last year—an excellent excuse for missing out on the festivities), I’ve compiled a list of some tried and true conversation starters to make absolutely certain you avoid those uncomfy topics this year.
1. If you’re a history buff like me, try asking your grandparents about their experience during the 60s, specifically surrounding the Civil Rights movement. From my experience, this segways nicely into an argument over whether or not racism still exists, which sets such a warm and familial tone at the dinner table. It’s also a great way to bridge that generation gap.
2. If you’re more the social-climber type, interrogate your wealthy uncle about his latest connections. Last year I recall a lengthy storytime about the latest bash at Luke Bryan’s golf course. I must warn, however, against any effort to insert humor into such a serious conversation (or should I say monologue). Last year, for example, while my aunt and uncle ranted about how Schitt’s Creek simply isn’t all that funny, my sister quipped something along the lines of, “Must’ve hit too close to home,” which unfortunately no one heard because somehow we’re still invited to Thanksgiving this year.
3. For you romantics out there, go ahead and ask your cousin about how many girlfriends he has at the moment. Might as well beat your grandparents to the question since they ask it every year! But make sure not to let them turn the question on you- better avoid the “I don’t have a boyfriend grandma, I’m gay!” conversation.
Anyways, I hope these prompts help spice up your break. If not, you can resort to my sister’s strategy of creating a Bingo board to mark all those yearly traditions (“Oh no, Uncle A****** is telling the bear left joke again!”). No better way to cope with colonialist holidays than some healing humor.
Note: In terms of attire, I’d recommend sticking to clothing which hides your entire figure, so grandma can’t *not-so-subtly* feel your waist when she greets you with a hug. I’d also recommend concealing all piercings and tattoos. This can certainly be a challenge, if my own nose piercing has any bearing on the situation. But I simply can’t risk grandpa being “blinded” by my nose piercing and I certainly don’t want to raise any more concerns over whether my tattoos are “removable.” Ripped jeans, of course, are off the table. I wouldn’t recommend opening that can of worms. I’d say ninja suits, potato sacks, or Amish apparel will do the trick.