Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tips for the imperfect (or normal) Thanksgiving gathering

If you have never looked this happy at the dinner table, don't worry. You are not alone.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to gather cherished friends and family, eat delicious food, and bask in collective gratitude for all the precious things in our lives.

Of course, no one is perfect. Some Thanksgiving dinners are less like a soft-focus greeting card and more like a semi-polite line of scrimmage. Some guests might not get along. Someone may not like the food. Before you know it, the once-tranquil atmosphere around the table has gotten tense.

What should you do?

We say: prepare now! Here our some quick tips to ensure a happier gathering of any sort:

1. Don’t discuss politics, religion, or money. There are a lot of other things to talk about, trust us.

2. Do keep your phone off the table and out of sight! Unless you are expecting an emergency, calls and texts (and Facebook-checking) can wait until after the meal.

3. Do take the stress off yourself, host or hostess, by having the table set before your guests arrive and letting family members serve themselves (to keep the flow going, pass dishes to the right, unless someone to your immediate left requests what you have in your hands).

4. Do take things outside. If children are getting rambunctious, adults are falling into tryptophan-induced sleepiness, or an argument is getting heated, suggest a walk around the block or some playtime in the yard. (Inclement weather? Hand them umbrellas and boots and get to it.)

5. Do try to see your guests as who they are: loved ones. Maybe quirky or argumentative or sensitive or sarcastic, but all people who matter in your life. Try to embrace it. Cherish those memories! Someday, you might even be able to laugh about some of them.

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