Humorous Thanksgiving Spoilers: Family Get Togethers Challenge Us
Tis the season to eat, eat, eat, rejoice and get together with family. And yet, the holidays can also trigger quite the opposite response. Thanks to a combination of obligations, consumerism and bad taste, family differences and feuds whether over the right way to make the mashed potatoes or to get vaccinated against the flu or Covid, we sometimes feel more stretched and stressed than joyful. And we haven't even thrown politics into the mix.
In an effort to add some levity to our preparations this year, we have come up with a few fictitious Thanksgiving spoilers to feed your funny bone and divert attention from the wishbone, which can be a holiday bone of contention.
Who won the wishbone?
Tug. Tug. Tug. Crack.
I won, right?
That was weird. Your piece of the wishbone is less than one millimeter larger than mine. Maybe, I really won. Do we need a runoff?
I think so, too. I'll know soon if I won if my wish comes true.
What did you wish for if I may ask?
I'll tell you. I wished that no one would comment on my purple hair.
I can make that wish come true but what got into you?
No variations, please
"Have some green bean casserole," your sister intones.
"I don't like the way it looks." She takes a taste. "It didn't look or taste like this last year."
"You're right," says the aunt who made it. "I did it differently this year with good white button mushrooms, fresh green beans, cream, butter, spices and toasted breadcrumbs on top ."
"I don't want it this way. I want it the old way with Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup, canned mushrooms and those crunchy Durkee's onion rings. Canned green beans are better, too, the ones already cut up not the long ones with pointy ends."
When no one is looking, she feeds it to the dog. Even he rejects it. He also wants last year's version. Oh, if only dogs could talk or cook.
A video Thanksgiving
What do you mean she's sick?
Well, she is, and dinner is on hold.
I can't believe I got all dressed up for this with my new Rothy's. I am anxious to see everyone and to eat our traditional dinner.
You still will see everyone, but this won't be a traditional Thanksgiving meal. We had to call Subway where I have a free coupon. It was the only place open on Thanksgiving. It's not my favorite but oh well.
But that's not tradition.
"What, getting sick?"
"No, the food."
"But that's what's feasible. Or don't eat. Fortunately, they have turkey sandwiches."
"That's great. Another holiday tradition in danger."
"At least they have turkey."
So, to get in the holiday mood, the family shows videos of their last Thanksgiving where they sat shivering in the four-seasons room wrapped in blankets, wearing socks and gloves and complaining that they ate too much.
Maybe eating Subway with cranberries from a can on paper plates poised on our laps in the well-heated living room isn't such a bad idea.
It may start a new tradition. But isn't it really about getting together?
Dressing, not the dish, but the outfit
How could you wear those jeans to this dinner? Darker than a work pair. Unpressed. Holes in the knees.
These are my party jeans, your son announces.
He endures nasty stares from the family that has already arrived.
Soon everyone is there. The son doesn't get up to greet guests. He's hiding his torn, unpressed and ugly jean legs under the table. While sitting there hiding, he stuffs his face with baba ghanoush. After he eats it, his breath makes him more of a pariah. He has a perfect excuse not to talk to anyone.
Why don't you get up and say "hi" to everyone? his mother asks.
He motions for her to come over and whispers in her ear: I am hiding my legs under the table. I just wish everyone would stop asking me to join them on the patio. What's with the patio these days anyway?
Too close for comfort
This Thanksgiving is going to be a challenge. We're all staying at my mother's house. Ten of us. Thus far, there have been several door-slams, one meltdown over how to make the sweet potatoes with marshmallow topping, a screaming match over who makes the best cranberries and a strong disagreement over how long and at what temperature to cook the turkey and whether to brine.
I've played 50 hands of go fish and 10 games of hide and seek with my nieces and nephews. Every morning at 6 a.m. I hear "pancake time" and I can't take the shrill call to breakfast and, of course, all those carbs.
Nighttime is a nightmare. My 15-year-old brother plays his drums every night in the basement. The whole house shakes. The neighbors then come over to complain about the noise and end up spending a half hour discussing which paint colors to use for their closets.
Sleeping in the same room with my grandfather is awful. He's a world class snorer. Too bad it's not an Olympic sport for he'd win a gold medal. Oh, and my brother's wife in the next room could also be a defending champion.
Enough. When is this over?
But like every year, we'll entertain the fantasy of kumbaya. We'll eat and then we'll huddle and leave. And next year, some of us may stay in a hotel and suggest we go to a restaurant.
This Thanksgiving meal does it to me every year.
I am going to have to spend $125 on probiotics, the living and expensive kind. I could put money down on them or do lay away. Or, I tell myself not to get downcast. Avoid the stuffing with garlic and onions. Or, I devised an additional strategy, where I can raise funds online for any cause at all. People will give you money for just about anything.
I'm not sure how to word my request---I need relief, I need to relieve myself, I am blocked (not a writer's term). Dangerous constipation; I am stuck.
And to all my family and close friends out there, help me get the donations started so it looks legitimate.
Just promise, if I don't make it, not to give my colon to anyone, no matter how needy and you can keep what's left of my expensive probiotics. It's yours. Happy birthday, early.
As you plan your dinner, mixing in, if you wish, some but not too many innovations or too many changes, keep your focus on what constitutes the good important times. The memories you make are what matter. Being together with loved ones is what counts. The gaffes will make great stories to be passed down for generations. You've now read our made-up tales here. Share yours but first Happy Holiday to all.
Checklist for Thanksgiving: The Serious Side
We offer you the humorous scenarios that may happen and what to do, but on the serious side, it's time to get ready if you're the host. Here's our top 10 list of what to consider if you're hosting to make the evening less stressful. And to all who host we say, you are on the short list for sainthood.
- Table and chairs to fit all since eating on laps is difficult for this meal. Count cutlery, glasses, napkins, placemats. Have candles to light with matches on hand.
- Make a master list of the menu and list who's making or bringing what, so you don't have five bowls of mashed potatoes and no cranberry relish.
- Place cards if you need to separate certain folks and put them out before anyone comes.
- Be sure you've ordered the turkey and the right size and know if it will be fresh or frozen, brined or not. Look online for specials on either fresh or frozen (or Kosher) uncooked turkeys. Have twine to tie it up, sharpened knives to carve, a big fork to help and a big roasting pan with rack to cook it. Have a meat thermometer and know how many pounds the bird is to cook it to doneness. Have the phone for the Butterball Hotline handy just in case (1-800-BUTTERBALL).
- Check casserole dishes and have enough serving pieces for potatoes, green beans, salad, potatoes, rolls, relish, pickles and more.
- Check the wine selection-red, white, cider, moxtails for nondrinkers, water, a pitcher and so on.
- Hors d'oeuvres, have a few nibbles while you're schmoozing, watching games, catching up and waiting for the turkey to cook.
- A playlist if you like music which can drown out some family arguments.
- Stage your desserts with plates and forks or spoons in a separate area. Good rule of thumb, at least three desserts-pumpkin or pecan, an apple and one surprise number such as cheesecake, tiramisu, pear tarte. You may want some ice cream in the freezer just in case.
- Candy for those who don't think a meal is noteworthy without chocolate candy or novelties such as candy corn to end the meal.