Thanksgiving is one of the most beloved American holidays. It's a time where college students actually want to go home, be with their family, and enjoy the greatest gift of all: food. Leaving out the details of the history of this holiday, it is one of the happiest times of the year. Everybody has a different experience on this holiday whether they have it at their house or a relative’s.
One thing is for certain though, your experience changes as you grow older. As a child, Thanksgiving means waking up before 9:00 am to help with cooking and watching the Macy’s Day Parade. You get to see your cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. Everyone that means the most to you is under one roof for the whole day. Your parents don't care how much dessert you eat because it is a holiday.
Fast forward to middle and high school. The holiday takes a turn where you start to almost wish nobody was at your house. You constantly take personal time to run up to your room and text your friends. The only time you interact with family is while eating, where you try not to be seen and answer questions with the least amount of words as possible. Besides alienating yourself from the family, the only thing on your mind may possibly be somehow sneaking away with a beer. Acting cool is absolutely the name of the game.
Now as a college student, seeing family is exactly what you look forward to most. It is probably one of the first times you have been home all semester and a home-cooked meal and some family bonding is first priority to help you get away from studying, drinking, and all those things that college fills your life with. Your experience has come full circle and you are like a little kid again wanting and needing family interaction. The only difference is you wake up at noon, miss the parade, and the first thing your mom says to you when walking down the stairs is, “Honey, have a mimosa.” Kicking back and drinking with your relatives is now the norm, and you cannot wait for the pumpkin pie and football.
Coming home for this holiday from school also provides you with a different type of interaction with your family. You barely see your mom because all she wants from you is to stay out of the kitchen and get out of her way. So, you plop yourself on the couch and start drinking with your dad, uncles and cousins. Once the drinks start flowing there are two distinct conversations you have throughout the day.
1) The Football Talk. This starts when the guys bust out their fantasy football lineups and start talking trash about who has the better team. Then, it leads into why your team will win the Super Bowl and what they need to do better on offense and defense. Finally, everybody realizes that while they were arguing they were actually agreeing with each other.
2) The School and Significant Other Talk. The only thing your grandmother and aunts want to know is how college is and do you have a boyfriend or girlfriend. You shy away from both questions.
The typical answers are:
“School is great,” or, “No, I am single.”
This leads to an array of responses by them telling you how they have a friend whose son or daughter goes to your school and they want to set you up.
Then, you end up getting the number of a stranger you have never met who you are “supposedly” getting set up with. If you do happen to have a boyfriend or girlfriend, well then get ready for the ultimate question: “Why is he or she not here?”
It's almost a lose-lose situation either way. My advice to you is to stay calm, breathe and just nod and smile. Also, throughout the day there are a few things that you are bound to see happen.
First, somehow there will be a person there that nobody else knows that your mom invited or your relative will be a significant other over to meet the family. The first hour they are there it will be really clear they feel very uncomfortable. Once again, as the drinks start flowing, by the end of the day, that person will be part of the family.
Second, one of the men will fall asleep. Sitting on the couch all day, eating, drinking and watching football is a tough task. By 4:00 pm it is almost routine for one of the guys to be passed out with a beer in their hand.
Lastly, amidst all the fighting that always goes into having a family gathering, by the end of the day everyone will have a smile on their faces. People will give their hugs and their kisses when they leave, and you will actually feel like you have a normal, loving family. So this Thanksgiving, remember that when you combine family, food, alcohol and football, you are bound to have an interesting experience!