Eight Terrific Tips for Turkey Day with the Fam


Don’t act like a turkey! The main event at your Thanksgiving dinner should be the bird, not stories about your inappropriate escapades at college. (Andy Lyons/Better Homes & Garden/MCT)

Published: November 20, 2008

For many freshmen, Thanksgiving is the first trip back home after starting college. Reuniting with your family can be intimidating, especially after marching to the beat of your own drum for several months. This holiday is a great excuse to lounge around and eat all day; however, you still want to dress, eat and behave appropriately, especially in front of dear old Granny. Here are some tips on how to have an eventful holiday without any awkward confrontations or unnecessary drama.

1.) Avoid awkward topics (sexual experimentation, drugs, alcohol)

Your family will be very interested in your college experience thus far, but it’s not a good idea to open up and reveal personal stories. Topics that are off limits include sex, drugs and drinking. Relatives can use their imaginations when it comes to the experiences that come along with the liberty of college, so you don’t have to spill any dirty details. Instead, focus on the educational aspects of your college experience—your inspirational professors; any museums, exhibits or shows you had to attend for class; and our diverse campus, New York City!

2.) Do help out with chores

Thanksgiving is all about playing football, watching the parade on television and eating excessive amounts of food. Just because you may be living by your own rules at school, there’s no excuse to avoid helping out in the kitchen when you’re home! Whether it’s heating up the gravy or setting up wine glasses, make yourself useful, and your good intentions won’t go unnoticed.

3.) Don’t reveal any new tattoos or piercings
You may have gotten a tattoo without remembering or let your friend pierce your cartilage, but Thanksgiving is not a place for family members to discover new body modifications. To avoid any heart attacks, remove body jewelry and cover up those tattoos with long sleeves, big jewelry or makeup. You may be 18 and living on your own, but when you go home, you are still your parents’ “little baby.”

4.) Use your manners/Be polite

You may be used to eating right out of the cereal box and leaving empty pizza boxes around your dorm, but you might have to relearn your manners for the family dinner. Remember, turkey and yams are not finger foods, so use those utensils—the ones you should have set up beforehand.

5.) Be open-minded about opposing political viewpoints

College may have turned you into a liberal, especially at such a diverse campus, but that does not mean you can’t have a healthy debate with conservative relatives. Speak freely, but choose your words wisely so as to not offend anyone with opposing beliefs.

6.) Don’t get drunk

This is pretty self-evident. If you know you have a low tolerance, do not exceed your drinking limit and make a fool of yourself in front of your family. Even if you can handle your liquor, it is still not a great idea to drink as if you were at a dorm party because your family will notice your newly-formed bad habit.

7.) Engage in conversation

You may have nothing in common with your aunt or can’t tolerate your grandma pinching your cheeks, but it is still important to be sociable and enthusiastic. You may be tempted to catch up with old high school friends, but save some time to interact with your family.

8.) Dress to impress

You may be accustomed to wearing pajamas or sweats to your 8:30 a.m. class, but remember, this is a special occasion. Go out of your way to look presentable, especially if your parents are seeing you for the first time since dropping you off at orientation.