Family Illustration

(Maisie Plew/Emerald)

Family is sacred. So when your aunts and uncles come storming through the front door, clearly it’s time to be thankful. An underlying current of obligation permeates through the drunken grandmothers, your uncle’s political ramblings and that odd hobby your cousin recently picked up. Whatever type of family you’re dealing with this holiday season, the Emerald is offering a few ways to cherish your time with them — or cope, depending on the situation.


Napping is one of the best things to do during Thanksgiving break — or any holiday break for that matter. For college students on the quarter system, Thanksgiving comes just before dead week and finals. By that point in the term, everyone is either giving up or slaving away. Extra sleep during the daytime can be a strategic way to deal with the stress and rejuvenate for one final push in December.

Luckily, Thanksgiving offers a number of prime napping opportunities. The most obvious window comes immediately after finishing your food. This is commonly referred to as the “food coma.” The technical term is postprandial somnolence. The body often takes a dip in energy after digesting a large meal, due to an activation of the parasympathetic nervous system. This can make dozing off on the couch not only ideal, but inevitable.

Use this to your advantage. Don’t want to watch football? Just close your eyes and drift off into the dream world. Don’t feel like helping with the dishes? Take a nap. You probably need it, and it’s impossible to feel guilty when you’re in a state of unconsciousness.

Get away from the kitchen and out of the house:

I go to P.F. Chang's with my family every Black Friday. Yes, that’s right. Of all the activities one could partake in the day after Thanksgiving, my family and I chow down on large portions of Asian fusion in a strip mall by our house. Here’s why you should too:

After slaving away for hours in the kitchen, who wants to cook dinner? That’s where P.F. Chang's comes into play.

First, it’s a chain. Wherever you live, there’s probably an affiliation nearby. And unlike fast food chains, P.F. Chang's is a sit down occasion with quality food.

Secondly, the restaurants are usually located in malls, giving you a prime opportunity to check out the Black Friday deals. And who doesn’t love buying items you don’t need just because they’re on sale?

So forget cooking and join in on a quirky tradition this Thanksgiving season.

Find a way out:

The first step in having the classic family Thanksgiving: sneaking more than one glass of that nice red wine you wouldn’t be able to differentiate from boxed Franzia if your life depended on it. If you want to make it fun, maybe even challenge a sibling or a preferred cousin to a contest of who can take down the most glasses.

The second step is to enter into a political conversation with that uncle who always says problematic things. Everyone is going to be asking you and your uncle to please stop talking, but don’t listen to them — you got this handled.

The third step after arguing for a good, long time is to get offended, make a scene, and then storm off to your room. Blame the emotions on the bougie red wine you just consumed. Call a trusted friend to come pick you up and go shopping at Target. Target is your safe haven.

This is a timeless Thanksgiving tradition.

Play board games:

This idea might sound lame to a lot of people, but there are valuable advantages to whipping out Monopoly, Settlers of Catan or a deck of cards. First of all, playing any sort of strategic game will stop everyone from talking. Instead of focusing on the fact that you’re failing two classes, relatives will be too busy scheming their next move on the board.

Secondly, when playing a board game, you can deal out microaggressions without receiving any blame or lecture. After all, it’s just a game — right? Think about who is really getting on your nerves, then buy the Monopoly property they have waited three turns to purchase. Tell your second cousin’s boyfriend’s sister that if she can’t handle fierce competition then she can go home.

Lastly, if your family is surprisingly normal and appreciates quality time together, board games are sure to bring everyone together. They’re entertaining enough to keep people awake, but not too overwhelming that there can’t be some laughing and friendly banter.

Bottom line — get to the store and get yourself some games. You never know when you might need them.

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