How to survive Thanksgiving at home

Step one: you must find the dog

We all love the turkey and the stuffing. We all don’t necessarily love going home for the holidays.

Sure, seeing the ‘rents is a highlight of a trip home. But hanging with the crazy cousins, dealing with the family feuds and arguing over who has to do the dishes leaves you more thankful to go back to college than the pilgrims were thankful to stop starving.

However, with a bit of strategy and maybe a bit of wine snuck from grandma’s wine closet, you can make this Thanksgiving a whole lot more about the turkey and a whole lot less about telling Aunt Mary you don’t have a boyfriend for the third year in a row.

The first step to a happy and relatively healthy (skip that pie) Thanksgiving is to find the dog. Whether you are at home or at a distant cousin’s house for the family get-together, find that dog and pet the shit out of it. Petting dogs releases endorphins, and as Elle Woods says, “endorphins make you happy.” Bonus: if you are at dog level, no one can ask you questions.

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While finding the dog, be sure to avoid the 15-year-old douchebag found in every family. Whether it’s Tommy, the skater boy cousin who thinks he’s too cool to say grace, or Becky, the basic high school sophomore who tells your aunt to, “Shut up, mom! God.” Avoid them at all costs.

We all know dinner is probably the most important part of Thanksgiving. Now, dinner can be served in two ways – buffet or round-table style. Both have important strategies for the best food situation possible.

If your host is showy enough to have a buffet, they probably also make long speeches about what they are thankful for or how much money they spent on that turkey. Use this time to tactically sneak yourself very close to where the line will begin. If your host is pretentious enough to have a round-table dinner, always sit closest to the sweet potatoes. We all know that shit goes fast.

Now it’s time for dessert, and if your mom hasn’t yelled at her sister by now, you consider yourself pretty lucky. My only tip for dessert is to make sure you get a piece of pumpkin pie. We all know cherry isn’t the classic, so it’s not what people are going for first.

Also, remember cookies can conveniently be hidden inside napkins and consumed later while you are watching your two uncles wrestle because one of them mocked Donald Trump.

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Also, if you’re 21 and looking for a cheap drink, remember that drunk great aunt who said she was thankful for vodka this year probably has a stash somewhere. She’ll be too drunk to notice when you slip one of her spiked apple ciders.

Now that you’ve gotten through dinner, dessert and a cheap drink, there is still a bit of awkward socializing before your parents finally throw in the towel and send everyone home or decide to drive away in their minivan. Hopefully, you’re like me and you have some family members who make every gathering a bit better.

I suggest spending this time with them – gossiping about family secrets, arguing with Aunt Lucy about Dancing with the Stars and making bets on who is going to be dead by next Thanksgiving.

After all, life wouldn’t be quite the same without these people. And even during shitty get-togethers, they’re there for you. And that is something to truly be thankful for.