Dreading the Thanksgiving gathering? Try these do’s and don’ts for surviving family holidays

Stock image | Photo by bowdenimages/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

FEATURE — It’s that time of year when family members travel from far and wide to gather, give thanks and eat a large meal together. Thanksgiving can be a wonderful time filled with traditions, famous family recipes and catching up with each other’s lives.

However, some view Thanksgiving with concern about how everyone will get along.

Here are some do’s and don’ts to help your family have a better chance for a peaceful, enjoyable Thanksgiving this year.

The dont’s:

  • Don’t talk politics or bring up other “hot topics.” Often the urge is to help family members “really understand” your position or understand why their position is irrational and wrong. Too often, this ends with slamming doors and someone crying in another room or the car.
  • Don’t be sarcastic, critical or give subtle jabs. These can cause emotions to escalate quickly, and feelings can get hurt.
  • Don’t try to fix each other’s problems over one meal. Also, don’t discuss the problems of other family members who aren’t there. The Thanksgiving meal is not the time to suggest someone get out of a relationship, sell a house, be a better parent or start exercising.
  • Don’t take things personally. Some family members are more “prickly” than others but choose not to get defensive. If someone does start fishing for a reaction, don’t take the hook.

The do’s:

  • Take charge of seating. Set the table for success by separating conflicting personalities. Set the conspirators near you so you can put out fires and guide the conversation.
  • Remind yourself why you are doing it. You love your family, well most of them, and ultimately, people are more important than problems.
  • Ask others about their lives. Don’t talk about yourself the entire time.
  • Give kids responsibilities but then turn them loose. Kids simply aren’t going to enjoy being trapped at a table for long periods of time. They get restless and whiny. It’s OK if they run off after trying most of the foods. Don’t turn it into a battle. Have something for them to do after the meal.

Written by DAVID SCHRAMM, Utah State University Extension family life specialist.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

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  • ladybugavenger November 17, 2018 at 8:27 am

    In other words, don’t talk and don’t be yourself. Just smile, say uh huh, nod in agreement, eat and leave.

    Have a wonderful day. Fake it til you make it lol

  • KR567 November 17, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    What the he!! Why not just stay home lol !

  • Cody November 17, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    Don’t have conversations with your family, always be who other people want you to be. Never discus anything and only get opinions from your first gut reaction.

    Yep seems super healthy and not dangerously isolating at all.

  • utahdiablo November 17, 2018 at 9:22 pm

    Nowadays “Thanksgiving” is way overrated, as the majority of most family members ( you know who you are ) only give a crap about where the “Black Friday” deals are, so that these “deals” can be had as soon as they can choke down the food. This, after all the hard earned money and time you spent to make them a home cooked meal. Yeah real “togetherness”, thanks to the almighty greed machine of the department stores along with everyone else who only wants to make a buck on us, regardless if the store employees cannot be home with their family, so that they can be in the store at 5 pm Thursday waiting on you…or the idiots too stupid to know that you may not get another chance to see your loved ones ever again after this Thanksgiving due to their passing….But hey, you beat the clock, worked the crowds and got your 82 inch TV for a few hundred less! Way to go, you professional shoppers!.. so let’s get ready for next year, time is money! …so to those family members? I say hit the Golden Corral or Chuck O Rama from now on, your not worth the trouble of the “Thanksgiving meal”

  • Redbud November 18, 2018 at 4:48 am

    If I was in charge of the country, all retail and non-essential businesses would be closed so people could enjoy time with their families on Thanksgiving. Employers found breaking this rule would lose their business license, and receive 3 years in prison for violations.

  • Mike P November 18, 2018 at 10:24 am

    I’ve spent every Thanksgiving except one with family. NEVER had an issue. Always had a good time and enjoyed the experience. Hmmm

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