the thanksgiving survival guide

And now, tips on how to get through the turkey and live to tell the tale. It’s that time again. The holidays. The few months where everything SHOULD be merry and bright, but more often than not, situations are full of pressure, tears and overall frustration. It’s the delicate time of year that reminds us like a swift kick to the groin that family always comes first - even if they have to claw and bite their way to the top of your priority list in this oh-so-selfish stage of life we’re living.

You see, I come from a Jewish family. I was birthed 100% Jewish out of my mother’s stomach (a C-section baby who sat on her bladder for almost the entire pregnancy and made her vomit more than the average model on a daily basis) and, in result, was also brought into this world with an overwhelming, cemented, all-empowering sense of natural guilt. This guilt plus the holidays usually always equals landmines once you step foot in my parent’s household.

However, I feel that all these years of visits home and explosive situations have enabled me to perfect my list of how to survive a holiday at home, with family. Take note(s).

Tip 1: Be early. I don’t care what’s going on in your life at the current moment – if you were so looking forward to having 2 days off and wanted to sit on your couch in your period panties for as long as you could get away with before you had to make yourself presentable and schlep over to your parent’s. YOU BE THERE EARLY. It’s no secret that this holiday is literally all about the food (like why else are we here?), so try not to be so blatantly obvious that half the reason you’re willing to undergo the pain and stress of Thanksgiving is for a free meal. Arrive early, stay a little late. It’s the least you can do until it’s time to roll yourself out to the car and try and squeeze your food baby behind the steering wheel for the drive home.

Tip 2: Dress nice. Look, I already see enough everyday citizens walking the streets of Dallas in sweatpants like this town is their worn-in, stained to shit couch.  Do yourself and your family the favor of putting on a nice sweater and some pants, for crap’s sake. Jeggings that stretch an entire size? Sure! Maybe even some leggings? Even better. Just be sure you wear a sweater that FULLY covers your ass or you’re one of those girls and I have no respect for you and neither does your grandma, but she’ll never tell you to your face. Yeah, it’s kinda awkward to dress up when all you’re planning on doing for the entire holiday is sit inside your parent’s house and eat. It’s not like anyone except family is going to see you… unless you post 100 pictures on Instagram like I probably will. For that reason alone, LOOK CUTE.

Tip 3: Offer to help in the kitchen and feign upset when your mom shoos you out. No controlling, Jewish mother EVER wants your help – NEVER. You know how you can help her? By GETTING OUT OF THE KITCHEN. Unfortunately, I got this trait from my mother. I have been known to snap at friends when I am in the midst of hosting and they are trying to help. So this is why I say just OFFER to help. And offer to help from, like, across the room. Stand on the opposite side of the house, completely separated from the kitchen itself and yell “MOM?! DO YOU NEED ANY HELP IN THERE?” I say all of this without taking into consideration that some families are functional when it comes to the kitchen and actually DO work together to create meals. If you’re from one of those families, I’d like to do a study on you. Please let me know if we can set up a lab time.

Tip 4: Bring something to the table. Not just your appetite and cute sleepy face when you’re full of tryptophan. Bring crackers. Or cheese. Or at least a bottle of wine – and a nice bottle, too. Don’t skimp out on your family with your usual $7 red blend of whoknowswhat. Splurge on that $20 bottle – it automatically makes you look more grownup and, little did you know that more expensive wine makes you more much drunker. This year, I am bringing a delicious sounding beverage I saw on the ol’ Instagram: pumpkin beer, sparkling cider, lemon and cinnamon. I know, right? You can copy me, I don’t mind. Just be sure to cheers me. I need recognition and praise.

Tip 5: Even if the food isn’t up to par, FAKE IT. You eat everything on that freaking plate and carry on to the cook about how delicious every last morsel was. It’s hard enough getting the timing just right on your nachos that are in the microwave and your frozen pizza that’s in the oven – can you IMAGINE how stressful planning a turkey with all the sides must be? If the turkey is dry, if the cranberry sauce is too tart, if the mashed potatoes have chunks of full potato in them – IT’S DELICIOUS. AND PERFECT. And YES, you’ll have seconds! And thirds! You can vomit later, but for now, as far as you’re concerned, you’re like the fucking lost boys in “HOOK” – just GORGING on air until it turns real and it’s the BEST AIR TURNED REAL FOOD YOU’VE EVER HAD.

Tip 6: Put a smile on your face (make the world a better place). Listen, as stressful and aggravating as the holidays can be, they're also usually the one time of year that you actually get to see your immediate family and extended family in one place. Try and remember that even in the darkest moments when your uncle and grandpa are arguing politics and someone's dog shit in the guest bathroom and your mom is weeping over burnt sweet potatoes (which is fine with me because I hate sweet p's). Just do whatever it takes to make it out alive and semi-well - if this means doubling up on anxiety medication for the day, then so be it. I ain't judging.

Above all else, eat a shitload of turkey, devour some pie and unbutton dem pants! You deserve it. And so do I.

Happy Thanksgiving, Y'all!

- Emma