Family gatherings can be fragile, prickly, and rife with ancient grudges. Ask anyone about the Holidays and they’ll gladly tell you about the Great Food Fight of 1998 or the Gravy Boat War of 2010. We’ve all got stories.
But you seldom see your precious family. Won’t somebody think of the children? I’m way ahead of you. This post is about generating goodwill this Thanksgiving, by showing your friends and family the love that conquers any Great Food Fight or Gravy Boat War. Because love is what binds you together even more than the common blood that runs through all your veins, thick as your mom’s famous gravy!
No More Missed Opportunities
Far too often, families gathering for Thanksgiving means missed opportunities to draw closer together. Old wounds are opened and poked at, grudges are revived, and a crumby time is had by all. All the gravy in the world can’t fix that.
But you can choose another way to do Thanksgiving. And if the Wampanoag and the Pilgrims can get along, your family certainly can and you can give the process wings with a few strategically given gifts. Let’s talk about showing love to your family and friends this Thanksgiving with some strategic (but meaningful) gifts. This Thanksgiving, don’t miss a sterling opportunity to broker a lasting detente, if not an enduring peace.
Every year, your long-suffering mom whips up a feast worthy of the gods. You anticipate the ambrosia, the juicy turkey, even the brussels sprouts, with immense glee. Your mouth waters a little as you touch down in Small Town, USA. You can practically taste it!!
And you expect the meal to include all your favorites. You expect it because it’s always been that way – exactly that way. And exactly that way it must remain! And mom gets it done because she loves you. Your attendance is reward enough but shouldn’t you give thanks to the one who labors in the Thanksgiving kitchen?
Don’t show up with a box of Turtles, child. Give Mom something she’ll cherish forever. Gemstone rings are the ideal gift for the moms of the USA, wrangling turkeys with every traditional family favorite, every doggone year. Choose one with mom’s birthstone in the center and you’ll be the only thing she talks about until next Thanksgiving. And even if it makes your Aunt Karen green with envy, make sure to present your mom with her gift to great fanfare. You’re setting the tone and you’re not done yet!
Aunt Karen’s Waterloo
That’s right! Right after you make Aunt Karen green with envy, you’re going to subtly neutralize her seething resentment with a gift! Love is stronger than her bad vibes, no matter how long she can hold a grudge (since 1972).Watch green turn to a sweet shade of “feeling special” when you lay a loving gift on Aunt Karen.
Light up her jaded eyes with the joy of a perfume set. That way, she can wear what suits her mood of the moment, mercurial as it is. And when she asks why you’re giving her such a lovely gift at Thanksgiving, you can say something like, “A rose by any other name could not possibly smell as sweet as you, Auntie.” Even if Aunt Karen gives you the side eye, you’ve won the battle, giving your mom the bonus gift of Thanksgiving detente.
The Volatile Uncle
There is no uncle like a volatile uncle and every family has one, without fail. Volatile uncles can be chin-deep in the mashed potatoes one minute and tearing a strip off your dad the next over a matter long since buried in the family plot. You know it’s coming. But it can be defused. And you, my friends, are becoming experts in the art of defusing Thanksgiving dinner table bombs, just by reading this!
No. You will not give the volatile uncle a bottle of scotch. That would be foolhardy, considering the hair-trigger temper of the recipient. Instead, give him some “cope”. A handy dandy massager with a variety of attachments can not only help your volatile uncle relax long enough to stop talking about the Civil War, it can act as a party favor! Imagine the fun you’ll have massaging your uncle to sleep. Just add tryptophan.
Family detente is almost achieved but there’s one more family member who could use a little strategic love.
The Chronically Sullen Teenage Cousin
Even at the age of 5, your chronically sullen teenage cousin knew who Karl Marx was. She dyed her hair blue black at 12 and attends Thanksgiving with a growing variety of piercings in her ever-serious face. Moving her food around her plate to approximate eating – because she can’t reconcile the unnecessary demise of a turkey, giblets and all – she’s leaving early this Thanksgiving to liberate a local pig from captivity.
Win your chronically sullen teenage cousin’s heart with cruelty-free and vegan makeup! She may petulantly twirl her septum ring for a minute. But once she understands what you’ve given her, she’ll feel seen, recognized, and appreciated for her anarcho-vegan, neo-Marxist convictions. You’ll be hearing why you should embrace veganism after dinner but isn’t it worth it for the sake of detente, regardless of how wobbly that detente might be?
Thanksgiving only comes once a year and shouldn’t its yearly celebration be focused on gratitude? Defusing ancient grudges with strategic gifts is a recipe for family detente. This Thanksgiving, cool the silos of family warfare by showing love to your friends and family with gifts that cut through the fog of war.