It’s that time of year again where we all travel hundreds of miles to argue with extended family.
On Thanksgiving, it’s as much of a tradition as the turkey. In fact, the pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving by throwing the green bean casserole at the aunt that lives in a liberal part of the settlement. It is in this spirit that we continue that great and wonderful tradition of Thanksgiving. To make sure yours truly unforgettable, make sure you pick the absolute freshest to incite your guests.
- Sex, Religion, Politics: The trifecta of Thanksgiving fights. There is so much fodder here to get a really good row going. Start by sitting your conservative uncle right next to your liberal aunt. Read a Facebook post as part of your prayer to a different God than either one of them believes in. As voices begin to raise, ask everyone to please keep cool heads as your brother’s girlfriend is new to your family. Also, point out that they are living together and probably doing some weird bedroom stuff. Then compliment her wonderful halter top and large assets. Sit back and enjoy your handiwork.
- Kids: Always a family favorite. As we all know, everyone loves to be told how to raise their children. You should share your opinion often and loudly. If you don’t have kids, even better. This is all really just the beginning of this dish. Garnish with reminding your mother that your brother doesn’t have kids. Why doesn’t he have kids? When is he going to get some grandbabies running around here! He’s not getting younger, although his girlfriends are. If great-grandma is still alive, make sure you ask her how it was back in her day when nineteen-year-old women were considered old maids.
- Grudges: Often overlooked, but never forgotten, bringing up old grudges offers some wonderful opportunities for a post-meal fight. There are so many relatives and personal relationships, that they are bound to be fraught with past slights and forgotten transgressions. Perhaps you can bring up something that happened back in 1972 on the family farm. If not that, think of family heirlooms that someone else got even though Pa-Pa is still alive and kicking. Arm yourself with a leftover drumstick as sides are picked.
- The Quality of the Pie: There is no better way to get a fight going than insulting someones cooking. The trick to this one is to not be too direct, after all, this is Thanksgiving. The more passive-aggressive that you can be, the better. “Mmm, the pie was wonderful after that dry turkey. At least it doesn’t have as much garlic as the mash potatoes.” If that fails to get the crowd going, then pit one family chef against another. “Grandma’s pie was much juicier!” This statement works on many, many levels and will surely cause quite the kerfuffle.
- Money: How can you have a delicious meal without reminding everyone who owes who money? Truly, of all the delicious choices you have this holiday season, bringing up financial matters might be the best. If no one owes anyone money, point out who is more successful. Pour that gravy of jealousy over everything.
- Personal Appearances: Nothing brings a family closer together than by showing how different each and every individual is. By bringing up these differences, you can drive a wedge between people who love each other. They are called extended family, after all. So extend it even further. Every family has someone with weird colored hair or a birthmark. These work on many levels, from generational to economic status.
Or, perhaps this Thanksgiving, you can take another approach.
Instead of letting things get out of control, or focusing on insults and differences, maybe this year we put that all aside and focus on family in its purest form. The people that helped make us, well, us, however that turned out to be. Thanksgiving shouldn’t be about the arguments or the tension that builds over the years, but about family. It’s better to focus on those things that bring us together, and not those that tear us apart.
But if things do get dicey, protect the pumpkin pie at all costs.