Family Thanksgiving Survival Tips

Family Thanksgiving Survival Tips

You’ve decided to go. But you’re afraid you might not make it out alive and well? Here are some tips to help you survive Thanksgiving day with your family if you have some issues with another family member.

1. Manage your expectations. 

Know who to expect once you get there. Find out in advance who’s going so you can mentally prepare yourself. You know, just in case Aunt So-and-so asks and you need to come up with answers about your parenting skills or why you’re still single. 

Also, remind yourself of the agenda. Why are you meeting up? Focus on being grateful for having a family — no matter how annoying and irritating they may be. Moreover, if you’re really having a hard time, you can look forward to the time of your departure instead. 

2. Focus on family. 

Another reason you’re attending is to spend time and catch up with your family. While you may be tempted to join in on the gossip, go ahead and ask the person being gossiped about instead. It’s always better to know the truth directly from the source. 

Avoid taboo topics like politics and religion. Don’t be afraid to change the topic or to literally walk away if you’re uncomfortable with the conversation. Remember that the perfect family doesn’t exist. Accept that they are human and that they’ll most likely disappoint you. Just focus on taking care of your family — like making sure the kids are fed. Check up on the older adults, too. Ask if they have eaten or if they need help in cleaning up. They will appreciate that. 

3. Be neutral.

Be as passive and neutral as you can when being given unsolicited advice. Be forgiving too, if you can. Don’t take things to heart. Most of the time, your “elder” relatives don’t even know they are offending you as they were just raised that way. 

Part of this is not getting too involved. If you’re the party planner, don’t expect everyone to follow your scheduled activities. Let your family have fun and freedom, so that there will be less likely a cause of friction. 

4. Let there be distractions.

While Thanksgiving is a family event, you shouldn’t force everyone to be focused on bonding with the family 24/7. You have to let people have their down time. Don’t start calling out people if they are on their phones. Invite them to do stuff with you but let them have a choice on what they want to do. 

If the children start causing a ruckus, you may distract them with games. If one of the adults have started an argument, invite one on a walk. 

Mere thoughts of attending your annual family Thanksgiving reunion could sometimes cause you anxiety. But knowing how to handle the situation is a great help in making sure you have a good time and a reason to be thankful on this wonderful family holiday.


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