How to Survive Thanksgiving When You Can't Stand Your Family

Every year, right around the early part of November, radio hosts ask listeners to call in with their worst Thanksgiving family stories. And boy are there some doozies. The most surprising thing for me is that most of the callers report that they still host or go to the family holiday year after year. 

Why are you even subjecting yourself to this?  Family or not, if the holiday get together makes you miserable, something has got to change.

This year, try one of the following tips to make your feast a little more festive:

Redefine the idea of “family”:

Consider hosting your own turkey day dinner, inviting the friends that you call family.

Seattle-based author Evan J. Peterson says, 
For me, Thanksgiving is about family. I have a great relationship with my family, but many of my friends don't. I can't often get to the opposite coast to see my folks that weekend, so I like to host an 'orphan' Thanksgiving for my local chosen family. I also know people who take that day or weekend to volunteer and fundraiser for local American Indian tribes and the homeless."

Avoid the subject of politics:

Political discussions during holiday gatherings can be about as much fun as banging your head against a wall. Stick to light-hearted subjects, and use the time to catch up on everyone’s life. If you have the type of relatives that have difficulty with this, try setting out lots of old photo albums. Chances are they’ll get picked up and looked at, and gear the conversations towards fond family memories.

Set a time limit:

If you’ve got a family that squabbles no matter what, (and you still plan to power through the holiday) consider sending a dinner invite with a set time range, say 3-6pm. This allows for enough time to eat, visit a bit, and still relieves everyone from making excuses to leave early.

Got a holiday survival tip? Let us know and we'll post it here!

Evan J. Peterson’s new book, The PrEP Diaries: A Safe(r) Sex Memoir, explores dating, hooking up, and thriving with the advent of Truvada PrEP, a revolutionary HIV prevention tool that saves lives and keeps life worth living.

Find out more at
Twitter: @evanjpeterson


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