A Mrs. G. Social Inquiry

If you enjoy a peaceful Thanksgiving dinner with your open-minded, amiable family, bow down and be grateful. For those of us who find our opinionated families a challenge on this holiday, pour yourself a big mug of wine, and if you live in Washington or Colorado, do not mention the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes (PARDON ME, BUT ADVIL WORKS JUST FINE MISSY) or, Lord have mercy, recreational use. Just don't.

Thanksgiving rarely passes when a comment isn't made about Mrs. G's baggy jeans lacking a belt or her sub par greenbean casserole.


Just out of curiosity, what subject repeatedly comes up your Thanksgiving table?

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Reader Comments (33)

Family thanksgiving is a blowout between liberal and conservative.. We have been too far to participate for the past eight years. This year we will make it! Looking forward to it!

November 20, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteramy

Considering this year I will be with all my inlaws in another state while my dear daughter is at her fathers house, well, anything short of murder will be a success. There will be the racist brother in law, so I expect lots of comments about the Chinese taking over the economy (outdated racism at that) and towell heads with the terrorist attacks. From the sister in law there will be little embarrassed twitters of laughter at his terrible jokes. The other sister in law will try to constantly talk about my husband's ex, and all the kids will be on i phones. I am taking my new dog so I can have an excuse to leave at any fucking moment. Oh, the other reason I am going, Dallas has an IKEA. Meatballs for thanksgiving!

November 20, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermolly

this year is a first empty nest Thanksgiving...which I expected be low key, or rather NO KEY. heh for the win. luck would have it, son #1 (who married 6 months ago) decided to up and ask his cousin (husband's nephew, so THAT side of the family) if he and his lovely new wife, could join them. LIke, he invited himself to their T-giving dinner! I was in awe...waiting for bad news, for him. Either a "no" or a "maybe". He got a NOTHING answer. He does not know. He thinks that the cousin might have said "sure, come on by" but he doesn't know if that means for dinner, or just for a visit. I sit on my hands (or rather, tape my mouth shut) and wait. For? the answer to my question "are we having Thanksgiving dinner this year?" Because I have. no. clue. What. Buy that pricey fresh bird? Cook? Go out to eat? Do nothing? my preference? do nothing. I am so totally out of the cooking mood. Been doing it for 32 years now, and I'm about done. Husband, having hit his own middle aged crankiness, complains about 90% of what I cook now. He can't be pleased. So, I gave up pleasing him with my cooking. I'd rather just go out. Not like I have a choice! But here, look, I'm rambling. So, I will say, no clue as to cooking or not. Youngest son, my latest bird to fly the coop, is coming back...I think. His new g.friend invited him to HER early T-giving dinner. And then she's leaving out of town, so he either comes home, or...not. I wish I knew. I'm so not a last minute planner.

November 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

We will all convene at the ultra conservative MIL's house : the hippies (us), the lesbians, the born agains, the atheists, and the corporate lawyer and the money obsessed wife. Various and assortrd offspring from some of these folks will also attend and that should prove interesting as we have a real mix in that bunch as well. It was easier when they were younger, they would get together and make something, now they can barely find any common ground. Yes, oh yes...a fine time is had by all and the only thing worse is knowing we will be back there in a month to do it all over again! Norman Rockwell we ain't! But in our defense we all coexist in that space and there hasn't ever been any real disrespect ( except for the year almost all of us mentioned we could not abide W and my MIL cried!)
Oh joy, happy happy Thanksgiving everyone!

November 20, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbramble

The goddamned Mexicans who are taking jobs away from Americans. Which, as a winemaker, gets my blood boiling. My Latino crew -- all American citizens -- are incredibly hardworking. And when there was a labor shortage in Sonoma, there were no White people lining up in front of our vineyard willing to pick several tons of grapes in the blistering Sonoma sun for farm laborers wages (which in Sonoma are still well above Wal*Mart wages per hour.) But despite the fact that this relative has never met a Latino -- American or otherwise -- and has no idea about farm labor, this argument continues.

November 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Paul

This year I will dine with my immediate family so no drama - but if my parents are around we try very hard to avoid politics and "journalism" (Fox news.) We are pretty good at it no matter how much champagne we drink. There is eye rolling and sgnificant looks when we veer too far into the minefields.

November 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrightsideSusan

Gotta confess, we have a great time. We've been spending Thanksgiving with friends the last dozen or so years. They do the turkey (on the Weber...and it's delish) and we bring side dishes. We eat and talk and laugh and eat and play cards and eat and it's wonderful. I wish everyone could do the same.

November 20, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter1Les

In the past 7 years I have been to my in-laws house once (Anxiety Level=10). For a couple of years I did a pared down dinner for just my husband, daughter and I. Last year we spent the day at DisneyWorld.

This year I am having a small medical procedure the day before and my daughter is going to her boyfriend's family in Alabama.
My husband's boss is buying everyone a Honey Baked turkey and I'm thinking turkey sandwiches would be good.

When we lived in MA we always had Thanksgiving with my Mom and all my siblings. I am lucky to have a family where everyone is very loving and accepting. The kids were always welcome to invite a guest and my siblings would invite any of their in-laws if someone was going to be alone. It was never an occasion to discuss touchy topics. We all got caught up on what the nieces and nephews were doing, made phone calls during dessert to anyone who couldn't make it that year, watch football and do a lot of laughing. I'm lucky to have a great family.

November 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLittle Miss Sunshine State

No issues. Everyone treated with love and respect, as it should be.

This year it will be very small -- just three of us. I'm still cooking a turkey and the necessaries (stuffing and gravy). There is debate about pie. Two pies for three people? I am making suggestions to the baker.

November 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSmalltown Me

We invited my FIL and Grand-FIL to dine with us, so we will have to listen to them grouse and complain about 'Obuma' (HAHA-not) and remind them for the millionth time that we're solid liberals. I'll have to make sure remember to unplug the TV before they come over. If I don't they turn it up full blast and then we all have to yell over it . And I have to make sure that Gramps doesn't watch re-runs of Family Feud because he gets mad when the n*%%## family wins. Yay.

November 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKelley

Normally, I gripe about being in close proximity to those whose opinions are different from mine. This year? My father is still alive after a deadly illness. My kids are mostly healthy and happy. I'm married to my best friend. I have a job. I'm going to be grateful. least...try.

November 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRainbow Motel

Whoo-hoooo! To hell with it all! My husband is taking me to Palm Springs for Thanksgiving, where it's going to be just the two of us (well, and the dog!) in a bungalow with a jacuzzi! We're going to have Thanksgiving dinner at an Austrian restaurant and I'm going to eat FISH - to hell with turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

November 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAunt Snow

We will be going out to eat. It will be just my parents, my aunt and uncle and me, my husband and my son. There will be no drama just happily reliving my brothers recent wedding. I'm actually looking forward to it.

November 20, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjean

We GO OFF on all things matter if we are all together for an hour or a day. Then we talk about house rehabbing, the kids, the PARENTS (who are there) then they talk about us..Next we get into all things having to do with our beautiful growing children, what we love about them, and wish we could change. Its always an event when we get together, I love my big beautiful Croatian-Italian family! Cannot wait!!!

I hope you will persevere this year, Mrs G..

Nice to see you again! You are the funniest story teller I have ever read.
from the beach--

November 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIts Lisa!

Since my thanksgiving table varies from year to year, I don't have an answer. This year I'll be at my daughter's in Renton . Some years I'm at a friend's (and the friends vary as well) and some years I'm in North Carolina . I have spent thanksgivings at my house by myself. I've fixed thanksgiving dinner at church for those of us who have far flung family. So nothing that comes up regularly.

November 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGail

When I was growing up, every family dinner ended in an argument between my uncle and my grandmother, with my aunt and grandfather sniping from the sides, my mother trying to keep the peace, and me getting away from the table as quickly as possible to go read a book far away from it all. I hated holidays.

This is why some years ago my husband and I made a decision that we no longer travel on holidays. So now we either eat out or like this year, we're joining some friends, bringing chocolate bourbon pecan pie, the jellied cranberry yuck that only my husband likes, and at least one bottle of wine even though the hostess has said they're going wine shopping tomorrow. I know these folks. It's going to be great.

And we fly to Las Vegas for a short vacation the day after.

November 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTC

I think your Turkey Day stories make me grateful we only have Christmas to deal with in the UK.

November 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertrash

It's still a week out, but I've already managed to single-handedly totally mess up Thanksgiving. Weeks ago, I accepted the invitation to join my daughter's future in-laws for the holiday. Last week I asked my brother, who lives in another state, if he wanted to take my old car off my hands. To which he said, "Sure!" and he'd come get it over Thanksgiving. He's bringing the kids and ex-wife to make a family visit out of it. My parents are thrilled to see the grandkids, but for convoluted reasons everyone is going to be sleeping and congregating at my house. So: I'm going to have a house full of people while I go eat elsewhere midday and we'll have our feast in the evening. Should be interesting!

November 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter~annie

Usually we gather here with our eldest and his family and a couple of friends and three dogs. My granddaughters make decorations for the table and we answer their questions about growing up in the "olden days" then we play a rousing game of dice while the games are on.
However, this year we are heading to Florida to our youngest son's home, all of us (minus our friends and the dogs) for a week! Of course I can't wait, first time we have all been together in 3 years. My DL is expecting 18 since her family will also be coming for the day! I'm in charge of the 25lb turkey and pumpkin cheesecake. It will be crazy, but we all get along and the three youngest granddaughters will be loud and full of giggles and the two oldest grandsons will try to act grown up. The answers about the "olden days" should be interesting since adults range from 95 to 40! I will have to control my desire to take charge as their are a lot more "chiefs" in our family than "Indians"
As for the food? Who cares what we eat, we are together and that is our Thanksgiving . I am grateful anytime anyone cooks and serves me I don't care if it's a peanut butter sandwich or a prime rib.
Mrs. G Thanksgiving or anytime a group of diverse people get together I remember "cheerful and stupid" works best.

November 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterALBUG

I'm one of the lucky ones - both sides of the family (mine and the hubs) are civilized enough to either stay off touchy subjects or disagree politely. My only beef is that I had my family here for T'Day for years but the nieces & nephew are grown and scattered now and my brother and SIL go to them. So we're going to my husband's family - but my BIL loves to cook and his daughter love to cook and they won't let me contribute ANYTHING! I love to cook so this is a disappointment. Oh well. Hang in there until Christmas when I can contribute (it's with my family).

P.S. Now if GARY was going to be some point we have to figure out how to meet in person!

November 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBriget

Sports. Always sports. But despite our strong team alliances, it never gets ugly.

November 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGreen Girl in Wisconsin

This year we will be at my sister-in-law's home. She is a wonderful woman and I love her completely. After multiple Thanksgiving dinners at her house, I have observed the following scenario is fairly typical:

1) Her husband will whine and complain to her for not doing something exactly the way he likes it; she will shoot back an appropriate "go F yourself" kind of comment (cleverly worded and without the F word since she is way classier than I could ever hope to be). I will secretly, silently cheer.

2) Her daughter will be there, a delightful young woman who is married to quite possibly the most dense man on the planet. This fellow is clueless about pretty much everything in the world yet has an opinion on it all.

3) Her two sons will grace us with their presence at the dinner table for a short time. The middle son lives in the basement and will only come upstairs when the food is ready. The youngest son is living in a halfway house to avoid prison, and by all accounts is finally getting his act together. Both sons will inhale a mountain of food long before the rest of us have finished assembling our plates, then head downstairs for gaming. Her husband and son-in-law will move to the living room where they can argue over football games.

After all the males in her family have retreated elsewhere, I will be ever so thankful for the time spent visiting over dirty dishes with my lovely sister-in-law, her wonderful daughter, and my sweet husband.

Despite the fact that it's legal here in Colorado, there will be no toking up at this Thanksgiving dinner. However, Dave and I might have to indulge when we get home. For medicinal purposes only, mind you. [smiley emoticon]

November 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDATdeborah

@ Julie- make your favorite meal. There is no law that says it has to be turkey. I LOVE traditional Thanksgiving food and have already cooked one bird this month, but I don't understand people who cook the whole deal and don't like it. It's way too much work. I also serve 2 entrees at every meal- take it or leave it. So far, it's worked for me.

@Lisa Paul- tell your bigoted relative to put up or shut up. If he wants to come and work on the vineyard and bring along a "deserving" white guy, he is more than welcome, BUT they have to keep up with everyone else or go home.

@Little Miss Sunshine State- the honey baked turkey is the bomb! It is expensive, but probably the best turkey you can buy. My department orders that and ham for our holiday party. I stay late and help clean up and get a share 0f the leftovers....yum! I hope that you have a speedy recovery from the procedure.

I am an old-fashioned cook from scratch kind of girl, but I also can aknowledge great prepackaged fare. Trader Joe's has a seasonal corn stuffing that can be microwaved. It is moist and delicious. We are having a super small Thanksgiving this year, so I am cooking a big turkey, then will make different sides for the next three days. I also clean the bird, put the bones, neck, parts, a cut up onion, celery and seasoning into a big crockpot, cover with water and cook on high overnight, strain the next day, and make turkey noodle soup with the broth. It is the best!

@ everyone- Happy Thanksgiving!

November 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterN and Em's mom

Every. Single. Year. my mother thinks she has to bring up the fact that my husband is an extremely picky eater and that she warned me that it would be very difficult and challenging to be married to him -- just because being a good wifey wife and putting dinner on the table would be so hard.

So annoying. Freezer is already stocked with vodka in anticipation of this conversation.

November 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSlow Panic

We are headed to my in-laws for Thanksgiving. There will be passive-aggressive stories about friends who have lost weight, gotten cosmetic surgery, women with advanced degrees wasting their time staying at home with kids, the bravery of letting one's hair go gray. My MIL doesn't give advice. She would never do that. She does, however, speak in parables. There is always some nugget of wisdom one is supposed to take away from her anecdotes.

There will be lots of "catching up" about C's former classmates. Most of which will consist of who is a lawyer and who is a doctor and who is an executive at big corporations. Even though they have all been out of school for over 25 years. And then there will be the comments about their beautiful wives.

I'm not a drinker so I bring medicinal chocolate.

November 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkellyg

This year my brother couldn't come home for Thanksgiving weekend so he's coming down this Saturday and we're going to do our Thanksgiving dinner with him and my parents then. My mom has Rheumatoid Arthritis and can't do much cooking anymore so my dad will do the Turkey, she'll do the gravy, and there is a stuffing that she loves but I can't eat at all, my kids don't like, and my husband is totally ambivalent about that she'll make (or oversee my dad making). I'm doing veg, cranberry sauce, and dessert and my man is doing the potatoes. We have a turkey so we may do our own little family Thanksgiving on the day of... or not. His family is right out as an option- everything is from a box or a can and pretty much nothing is gluten free which means I can't eat it. It's not my idea of fun to drive hours to a meal I can't eat, which means I have to prepare some sort of meal for myself to take down there and then listen to idiot politics and watch everyone drink too much. We actually love his family, they are generous and loving, but we generally live on completely different planets.

My parents are more closely aligned politically and it's not something that comes up regularly at our family gatherings but I can guarantee that homeschooling is going to come up. My mother is inordinately concerned about my daughter not being perfectly in the middle of grade level for her reading skills, and is using that as a reason to push for her needing to go to school "maybe just part-time". To which I say "f*ck off" in the most reasonable way I can. Also my brother, who is 32, is still working as the manager of a coffee shop (which he hates) because there is so much competition in Seattle for jobs in his field. This irritates my mother to no end who is totally accepting of him not having a partner an dof him not wanting children but apparently can't tolerate him not having forward momentum in his career, especially after having spent so many years deciding what he wants to be when he grows up. I figure that so long as he's supporting himself she can just shut the hell up and let him live his life. Overall though it will probably be fine. My kids are very excited and not having plans for the day of frees us up as a family to do whatever we want. Maybe we'll go hiking if the weather is reasonable.

November 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHeather in Oregon

I have no kitchen - not even walls. The new appliances are in boxes in the dining room, the new cabinets in boxes in the living room, the functioning old fridge in the family room with the microwave, we do dishes in the bathroom sink. Boxes boxes everywhere. So gee I'm not cooking. The Captain's mom passed away this year, which is where we have been going for Thanksgiving, my kids spending Thanksgiving with their dad (I'd rather have them for Christmas! YAY!). so the Captain and I are thinking that we're going to tell everyone "we have plans," hide out in bed, maybe get up long enough to go to the beach (we live there), then go back to bed with champagne. I'm pretty sure there will be NO arguments that day (or any day. we are pathetic we never argue!

November 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe Girl Next Door

Last year was rainy so Lou and I hid in bed, eating creamed spinach, petting the cat. We did hit the neighbors house late afternoon, still in pj's (don't you wish you lived in our 'hood) for some champagne. Later another neighbor came by for the last of the creamed spinach - in her pj's (see previous comment) - and then went back home. If it's nice this year we may hit Opening Day at the racetrack. If so, we get a "salad" there, which is really another name for those bloody marys with celery, spicy beans, olives and okra. A dozen or so oysters there are always cold and salty. Then back home, take off the finery and hats, put on pj's and eat creamed spinach. Haven't eaten the bird in fifteen years when I was at my mom's serving myself, stopped in front of the turkey, and suddenly realized it was the only land animal I was consuming and I didn't like it either.

There were always arguments and disagreements on Thanksgiving at the family and friend gatherings, but my mom's no longer there to temper them with witticisms, to which all conversation rose in attempt to better snark and snarl. "Go to hell" is so lacking; originality, no matter how cruel, was applauded, even by the one skewered. I'll keep the memories, even when harsh, rather than listen to whiners and weepers. Mom would approve.

November 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commenternaomi d

Y'all have a good time.
I'll be working my normal 10 hour shift.

I did all the cooking for 20 years.
Once my bil insisted he and his wife would get the turkey.
They showed up 4 hours late with a 12 pound frozen turkey for
5 kids & 7 adults.
I had put the 24 pound turkey I purchased in the oven thank goodness.
I laugh because that was the year my Dad took all the gravy.
Good times I miss them all.

November 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda C in Seattle

Fortunately, we all get along. We don't talk about politics or religion except politely and briefly ( I have a minister BIL). We go to my sister's and everyone brings their assigned side dish. A little wine and beer and munchies while we wait for Operation Turkey Lift to commence and my Mom to make the gravy. We usually eat by 2:00 pm. After the meal, we pitch in and do dishes. Then we all go for a leisurely walk together and then play board games/watch football/chat/read the Black Friday ads. Then around 7:00pm, we all dig in the refrigerator, haul out the leftovers and make sandwiches. It is my favorite holiday of the year. It is relaxing and low stress.

One tradition we have is that, before the meal, each person is given 3 slips of paper. They have to write one little thing they are thankful for on each slip of paper (even the babies and old folks). It CANNOT be any of the big 5: food, family, house, health or job. It must be the little things in life. Everyone puts their papers into a basket. During the meal, we pass the basket around the table. Each person reaches into the basket, pulls out a slip and reads it aloud. Then we all take turns guessing who wrote it. Once we guess correctly or are stumped and the writer tells us, the basket is passed to the next person. We go around the table 3 times. It is always full of laugher, nods of appreciation and little surprises about what people are grateful for. I like this tradition so much that I also do this (a modified version) with my elementary school class the day before Thanksgiving. They get a kick out of the readings too.

November 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie in AZ

I love Thanksgiving, but we are always a little sad and contemplative because several years ago, my husband's brother died of a brain tumor (at age 36) on the day before Thanksgiving. We actually held the wake on Thanksgiving day. Then, a few years later, my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer, also on the day before Thanksgiving. (She died three months later.) So those two Thanksgivings have left me feeling a little gun shy about the whole holiday. My husband's family's Thanksgiving tradition was utterly destroyed by his brother's death.

November 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPatience

can I reply late, but with much thanks and gratefulness that I'm spending this Thanksgiving in my chosen home of Alaska, many thousands of miles away from the debacle that was last year's epic family visiting trip for the holiday. Gads, what a disaster with my sister's family. so much alcohol and substance abuse issues that ruined it for everyone, but who was the big troublemaker in their eyes?? me. the only sober and successful one in the bunch. one of their friends even got arrested and thrown in jail for DUI on the way home from the night before drunkfest. How thankful I am, indeed this year. and sad.

November 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAngAK

We love, love, love Thanksgiving. Mostly because we love, love, love cooking and food--if we're doing it together. We have a 2-day cooking/baking extravaganza with an all-hands-on-deck attitude and we're happy with whomever is here and love to check in with those who can't. I have felt incredibly blessed of late--we are two for two in the "kids choosing life partners we really like" department and that feels great.

November 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJenn @ Juggling Life

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