Every Thanksgiving, members of my family are put on the spot as we go around and give thanks, toasting to the fun, sad and exciting news of the past year.
If you’re anything like me, an undergraduate student who is still attempting to avoid adulthood and responsibilities and horrified by familial pressures, then this moment requires preparation.
Here are my tried-and-true approaches you can take to make sure you don’t spit out some awkward garble and get stuck like a deer in headlights.
Short and Sweet
This approach has high success rates, especially when it comes to pleasing your parents. Keep it light and mention being thankful for the opportunities you’ve been given, the friends and family you have, and of course, the food — extra points will be rewarded if you slip in a shout-out to the fabulous cooking.
Not so easy to pull off, but scores high marks with the family. Dig deep and open up for the best results, leading your mom to question just when you became so sentimental. Are you proud of the people around you, any challenges you and your family have overcome, or just anything special and significant to yourself? The people around the table will not judge you, but rather praise your honesty and courage to open up.
The “look how much I have learned” approach. This has mixed responses; some will be shocked by just how much you have learned in your first few weeks of the semester, others may think you’re being a know-it-all. If you plan to tackle this strategy, be sure to use eloquent words, talk in circles, sound intelligent, but not really make any sense.
Simply raise your glass slowly after taking a sip of your rich red wine, and repeat after me: “what is thanks? what do we deem as gratitude and indebtedness? what bears us food and existence that supplies us with the breath of our corpses, our civilization, our masses?” On second thought, maybe save the intellectual talk for the dinner debates.
Easy way out
This last approach is the easy way out, or what I like to call the ‘tipsy’ approach. Depending on your family dynamics, just shrug when it comes to your toast, hold up your cup, and take a big sip. Simple yet exciting, and depending on your actual level of intoxication, feel free to make fun of yourself. This is the moment for what everyone is thinking but no one’s said i.e. “Remember when Jamie and Sam were dating, nice choice there Sam,” then let out a small hiccup to ease the tension. The level of savagery is your choice, just keep in mind that some university skeletons are best left in the dorm room closet.
No matter which way you decide to play it, pause and take in the moment when you make your toast. Raise an honest glass to the night. Thanksgiving after all, is meant for us to give thanks for what we have been granted and fortunate to experience in our lives, no matter *hiccup* if you dated a Jamie or Sam this year.
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