My family is not perfect. No where next to near. I've developed survival tips over the years. Hopefully your family is closer to perfect and you won't need to employ any of these methods.
1. Men...if you want to be left alone to watch games while prep work and cooking is being done...show up wearing some good smelling smell good. We never follow through with threats against a good smelling man.
2. Unless you were INVITED to cook in someone's kitchen do NOT show up with something that needs to go in the oven. People will be using their ovens. And their stovetop. And don't send those dang tall fruit bouquets that take up room in the fridge either. We got ish in there that needs to stay cold so we can't be rearranging stuff for flower shaped pineapples on a stick.
3. Don't go in nobody's pot without washing your hands. You will be called nasty and talked about by every woman at the house over the age of 17 if you do. And then they are going to call people who aren't even there to talk about you some more.
4. If you are trusted to fix your own bowl of gumbo do NOT keep digging around trying to get all the sausage and shrimp. I mean really. Act like you been somewhere hell. Other people like sausage and shrimp too and don't make us count it! Anything over 5 pieces of sausage might be a deliberate act of treason. WALK THE PLANK!
5. Don't be the drunk Uncle. Or Aunt. Or cousin, brother, sister, friend of Ricky's, etc. Drunk and family don't mix. Somebody always spills secrets or sling fighting words they didn't mean to.
6. You know your kids act bad when your eyes aren't on them. Keep ya eyes on your kids. Last year they broke Mimi's candy dish. You know...the one with the candy stuck together that she thought the little one broke when we all know it was your kid who broke it. The little one couldn't even pick it up good.
7. This Thanksgiving might NOT be the best time to spring your brand new interracial relationship on your family if you know good and well some of the racist family members are going to be there. 'SPECIALLY if your cousins stocked the bar something good. Wait til' 'round 'bout say...Easter.
8. If there is a bottle of some expensive something, let the person who bought the expensive something pour you a glass cuz if you pour it yourself...no matter how much you actually poured, the story is going to be that you drank up all the good ish same as yo' daddy used to do knowing he brought over a bottle of wine he picked up at the corner gas station.
9. If your eyes are bigger than your stomach and you pile your plate with too much ham knowing it's one of them expensive azz honey baked hams that Nadine 'nem drove over from Atlanta with and you end up having to throw it away...LAWD HELP YOU CUZ BAAAAAAAABY...they 'gon git you. Yo azz is grass.
10. If you know THAT cousin is going to be there...just lock your purse up in your trunk and keep your car keys in your pocket. I ain't saying he still be stealing but hey...why take the chance?
11. You know that cousin who used to be a hellion and put the entire family through hell and back again? Well...if you heard they just got saved 6 weeks ago...steer clear of them. You ain't living NEARLY right enough for the newly saved and sanctified religious gospel.
12. The man who owns the house should be the only man with his hand wrapped around the remote UNLESS the man of the house hands the remote to you. If he does...use that power wisely. If he comes back and you've let some whippersnapper convince you to put it on the po-rade...well...guess whose name is mud duck from now on?
13. Don't even try to commit the name of the woman with the too short skirt your slick cousin, Rayban brings with him. You know she won't last the year.
14. Do NOT under any circumstances bring up or even HINT AT the money a relative owes you even if they just walked in flaunting or talking about the new 80 inch flat screen tv they just bought knowing good and well your big tv is only 40 inches. Bringing it up at Thanksgiving will force Grandmother to fake a "spell" and the last time she did that she bumped her head for real when she miscalculated her faint and James didn't catch her before she hit the floor.
15. NOTICE! THANKSGIVING IS NOT THE TIME FOR YOU TO BE IN THE KITCHEN WITH THE COOKS LEARNING HOW TO COOK! THIS IS SERIOUS BUSINESS GOING ON! THE SUPER BOWL OF FOOD! GO SITCHO BEHIND DOWN WITH A POTATO PEELER AND PEEL SOME POTATOES! GRAB A TERRY CLOTH TOWEL AND WIPE A BROW OR TWO! STAY OUT THE WAY AND DON'T.GET.CUT!
16. If you know your people funny acting don't be trying to bring new people around without giving them the Cliff Notes version of who's who and what to expect. If you tell your gorgeous girlfriend with the short afro that your shade throwing Aunt will tell her that she's "...so pretty to wear your hair like a boy..." then it won't be as much of a shock when your Aunt says it.
Cuz you know GOOD AND WELL SHE WILL! She's been funny acting about hair since that perm took her hair out back in 1969.
WARN.YOUR.FRIENDS! It's the right thing to do.
17. If you have food allergies and issues, I suggest you eat before you arrive and don't make a big deal out of what you can and cannot eat. It will be the equivalent of growing a second head and styling the hair differently on both heads. Just put what you can on your plate and tell them you got food poisoning the night before so your stomach is still all messed up and you don't want to rock the boat. EVERYONE understands the misery of "bubble guts" and they won't press you. Someone might even get up and fix you a pot of hot green tea just like you like it with some local honey they bought at the farmer's market.
Sometimes ya just gotta lie.
18. If you have it to give...get a few hundred dollars in $20's and keep in your wallet. If cornered and asked for a "few dollars" give some of what you brought with you. Hell...it's Thanksgiving. Be thankful you have it to give.
If you don't have it to give simply say..."Man...I was just about to ask you for _____ (double the amount they asked you for)."
Watch how fast they move on to the next one.
19. Be careful who you bring home for the first time. Nobody cares much for the new person who talks too damn much.
20. Be prepared for SOMEBODY to accuse you of thinking you're better than them. Combat this by running to the store right quick for your favorite Aunt. You know she's outta smokes and yes...you'll still be better than them. Buy some chatzky while at the convenience store and pass it out like candy when you return. This is the equivalent of "Yeah...I'm bad" in the "better than" world.
21. If you didn't bring anything but are leaving with more than one plate of leftovers you are clearly the person they give a pass to because they all know you're "special."
You don't wanna be that kinda "special."
22. What NOT to Wear!
a. Mini skirts - You will be sitting down the majority of the time. Too much leg for family dinner man. TOO.MUCH.LEG!
b. Wool sweaters - The house will get hot with a crowd of folks in there. Trustme.
c. White clothes - One word. Gravy.
d. Tight skinny jeans / dresses / tops, etc. - Your after turkey bloat will make you miserable.
e. Heels - Seriously...why? To Thanksgiving dinner? You're going to sit, eat, drink, talk ish, watch football or play games. #GIRLBYE
f. Hoodies - You can't relax in the haze of the itus on the sofa with a hoodie unless you put the hood on. Don't put the hood on inside.
g. Super short shorts - o_0
h. Leggings - LEGGINGS ARE NOT PANTS!!!!!!!!!
i. Crop tops - Um...turkey bloat is deep and it's real.
j. Low cut blouses - Um...your Grandmother doesn't need to see all that. She has seen boobs and is probably over them by now.
Me? I'm wearing some version of one of these pics. LOL!
The most important thing when it comes to surviving family is to remember that you're FAMILY. There is no need for competition, snide remarks or ugliness in any way. Smile, be lovely and keep it moving. Thanksgiving is to remember what we have to be thankful for and family is a MAJOR reason.
Monnie, Robby & Jaru