Nothing ruins a Norman Rockwell-style Thanksgiving dinner like a couple of argumentative relatives battling it out over the paper mache turkey centerpiece your little one brought home from school. To prevent family arguments on Thanksgiving Day, try these five techniques:
1. Keep them busy. There’s plenty to be done on Thanksgiving Day, so coming up with a chore for Uncle Grumpy shouldn’t be too difficult. Ask him to take out the trash, make a milk run or set up the DVD player for the kiddies. Do anything necessary to separate him from his favorite arch nemesis, your husband. To make things even easier on yourself, prepare a list ahead of time of things that others can do to help out for the Thanksgiving festivities. Then you can hand off the list quickly without even having to turn off the stand mixer.
2. Keep them entertained. Have plenty of activities on hand. You should have the Frisbee and the football out, and maybe areas set aside for badminton or ladder ball. Have some activity available for everyone to talk about besides politics. If it turns out to be a bad weather day and everyone is stuck inside, pull out the board games, video games or jigsaw puzzles. Remember to offer entertainment that will appeal to each age group.
3. Keep them separated. If you can manage two different rooms with televisions, your turkey day might just turn out perfect. Set out the snacks and turn up the game in one room, and arrange a cozier viewing area with treats in the spare bedroom for those who can’t play nice. Even social butterflies sometimes need to escape the party for a little quite time to center themselves and recharge. Making an extra room available for your guests also allows people to escape to have a private conversation that they don’t necessarily want the whole family to overhear.
4. Keep them sober. Nothing fuels arguments like high blood alcohol levels. Have plenty of tempting alternative beverages on hand and in sight. You could even try an old-fashioned punch bowl and “forget” to add the rum. Include full water glasses on the dinner table and serve coffee with dessert. Non-alcoholic drinks can be both delicious and satisfying. Make sure to serve them in beautiful glassware with creative touches like umbrellas, spears of maraschino cherries, and wedges of fresh citrus.
5. Keep them happy. Have you ever heard of party pieces? Children in Europe will often memorize a song or a cute rhyme to recite at parties to entertain guests. Here in America we tell jokes. Learn a few openers and soon everyone at the table will be competing for laughs. If you have a piano in the house, give one of the kids a chance to show off their chops for the family.
Thanksgiving Day can turn out to be pleasant for everyone. When you use these entertaining tips, you can ensure that all of your family members enjoy the day and get home safely.