Family Fun Or Family Feud? How To Handle This Thanksgiving

The first line of the Tolstoy classic Anna Karenina reads “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” – and the category your family falls into could make or break your Thanksgiving holiday. It’s often said that family gatherings bring out the worst in people, and every year, advice pours in on how to handle yours. Here’s a little bit of help this holiday season, whether you are happy or otherwise.

  • Do you feel uncomfortable broaching the news of the day with your relatives? Newsweek’s Human Condition helps you along with some dodges for controversial subjects. For example, if your super-Republican relative starts on an Obama rant, simply reroute the chatter towards the first lady’s stunning fashion choices. [Newsweek]
  • In these trying times of recession, Huffington Post’s “Workplace Guru” reminds the unemployed that this year, they may not have to so ashamed — chances are someone else at their table’s going through it too. [Huffington Post]
  • Even the simple food staples of the holiday can make people crazy. Some family gatherings drum up a plate-full of food-related drama.
    [New York Times]
  • And if all else fails, at least you’re not one of the folks who wrote into these week’s Thanksgiving-themed “Dear Prudence,”’s advice columnist. Imagine having to shell out $40 for dinner with your boyfriend’s fam. (T)Ack(y)! [Washington Post]

Personally, I’m thankful that my own Thanksgivings are somewhat mild in comparison. My family convenes at my grandma’s house, as we do for most holidays. Our conversations are frequently on current events, and they’re lively though not heated; we’re mostly on the same page. Ye there’s always a range of opinion since there’s a multitude of generations present. The guests often range in age from my teenage brother and cousin to my 87-year-old grandmother (to whom I was pleased to give a “told ya so” about President Obama’s election over last year’s turkey). The TV is on in the background, broadcasting MTV VMA re-runs and the Food Network (though once we had to watch “Smackdown!” to accommodate my cousin’s wrestling interest). And no one ever bugs you if you take an extra slice of pie.

How does your family fare in holiday get-togethers? Are you just throwing down your forks post-meal or actually throwing down?