Sunday, November 22, 2015

Who's Coming to Thanksgiving Dinner?

Well, it's Thanksgiving week and you know what that means.  Family gatherings.  All over the country, families will be coming together around tables of delicious food and lively conversation.  No matter where you live or how you celebrate Thanksgiving, I'm guessing that we all have some of the same guests at our tables.  There is a broad swath of categories into which, I'm sure, most of us could divide up many of the family members who'll be with us this Thanksgiving.  I thought we'd look at some of those today.     

The worrier. Every family has a worrier or two. They're the ones who fret that the kids will break the glass table and sever all their main arteries or that someone will get choked on a bone that was left in the dressing.  They're the ones who have visions of the turkey being undercooked and the entire family tree being hospitalized on Black Friday with salmonella poisoning.  The worrier can't help that he/she has the gift of a dark imagination.  After all, in the mind of the worrier, when 45 people are in one house, the odds of all of them leaving alive and well are slim to none.    
The organizer.  The organizers are always in charge.  The organizer is often a first born child which makes them natural born bosses.  They do all the calling..... compiling a list of conflicts....and ultimately deciding on the day and time at which the meal will served.  They make the assignments as to who will bring what ensuring that there will be plenty to eat.  They shop well in advance for ingredients so that the family will not be among those caught without French's Fried Onions atop their green beans when the grocery stores run out.  They have their system and it's best not to try to alter it.  Their way has worked for all these years and there's no need to change it now.  Until the organizers have been laid to rest, the family will follow his/her lead. 

The free spirit.  The free spirit can be found at Thanksgiving dinner in unconventional dress like board shorts, Black Sabbath tees, and sandals.  Facial hair and hairstyles may vary from year to year. Because of the free spirit's laid back personality, he is rarely in any hurry or distress and, as a result, will likely be around for more Thanksgivings than any of his contemporaries in the family.     
The politico.  The political one is always up to date on the latest politics and is ready to discuss them at a moment's notice.  "Did I hear someone mention the Republican debate?"  We have several of these in our midst.  They enjoy political banter and discussing what needs to be changed in the world.  It is best not to seat this guest next to anyone's new liberal girlfriend who is currently involved with the Bernie Sanders campaign and sporting a Planned Parenthood bumper sticker on her car. 
The child magnet.  There's always that one relative who attracts all of the children.  They hang off of the child magnet like monkey bars.  The child magnet is usually a fun uncle who's never had kids and doesn't realize the dangers of flinging children into the blades of a ceiling fan or grasp the concept of shaken baby syndrome.  This total disregard for safety is the very thing which draws the children to him.  It is best not to seat the worrier anywhere near the child magnet when arranging the place cards.

The picky eater.  The picky eater looks at the long table of holiday food which stretches as far as the eye can see and can find nothing that is fit to eat.  The picky eater will ask if there are any Kraft singles in the house or simply settle for a roll and dessert.  The organizer is sure to make a notation of this and accommodations will be made for the picky eater at next year's gathering.
The Black Friday shopper.  The Black Friday shopper stretches miles of sales papers out across the floor and table.....making notes and lists and checking them twice.  They are comparing prices online, checking sale times, and charting their shopping attack.  The shopper may excuse herself a little early in order to get in line with the other 500 people in competition with her for the five iPads in stock at Best Buy.       

The observer.  The observer is seen but rarely heard.  He/she is content to sit along the edges of the room as a spectator of all of the family mayhem.  It's not that they aren't enjoying themselves or wish to be somewhere else, it's just not their style to get up in the middle of the action.  The observers and the free spirits blend nicely together in the seating chart. 

The entertainer.  If there is a piano, they will play it.  If there is a karaoke machine, they will sing into it.  If there is a hearth, it will be their stage.  The entertainer sees the family Thanksgiving as a holiday with a captive audience and will never let a good opportunity get by them.  The entertainers were born for times such as this.        

The hugger.  The huggers.....well, they hug.  A. Lot.  If you see them coming toward you, you should assume the hugging position because it's coming.  It is not unusual to be hugged by the huggers multiple times in one visit.  Once when you arrive.  Once when you leave.  And as many times as you pass by them in between.  The huggers are full of love for their family and want to express it.  Failing to do so could result in something bursting internally and that would be unhealthy.....and would require the care of one of the medics.   

The techie.  The techie is always on his/her gadgets.  They're texting, posting, checking social media.  They're Snapchatting, Candy Crush-ing, tagging, and scrolling.  If there are any news or weather developments during the gathering, locally or abroad, the techie will keep the family informed.  Oddly, the family could recognize the top of the techie's head from a mile away.  The Black Friday shoppers can benefit from having the techies' place cards close by. 
The fan. The fan is always rehashing the game, play by play, or looking for a television to catch the last quarter or the highlights.  They flip channels between ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Alternate, and the SEC Network.  They always come dressed in their team's colors and seek out the fans of their rival team to torment.  The fan and the politico generally have nothing to talk about and should be seated apart. 
The sleeper.  Once the sleeper eats, it's game over.  You'll find them in the closest recliner to the table all stretched out and unconscious. The sleeper opens himself up to a number of embarrassing possibilities when he dozes off in a room full of people, all armed with phones.  This is a risk he is always willing to take.  The sleeper often wakes up confused as to what time it is and how long he's been out.....not realizing he's gotten over 100 likes on his drooling portrait which the techie has posted. 

The photographer.  The photographer wants to capture all family memories for future generations. It is their mission to photograph everyone in attendance at least six times.  The photographer will often wrangle different groups together to be photographed such as children, brothers and sisters, etc.  The crowd usually becomes disgruntled with the photographer.  The outdoorsman and the observers are especially intolerant of the photographer's quest to document their existence.  It is a thankless job that few appreciate......except for the entertainer and the fashionista, of course.         

The servant.  The servant wants to help everyone in attendance at family affairs.  They will hold your baby while you eat, refill your tea glass, wipe your toddler's nose, wash your fork if you drop it, fetch you another piece of pie, make your coffee, and take your plate to the kitchen when you're done.  The servant insists that she's not hungry and will eat right after she's cut all 18 children's turkey into little pieces. The servant is often left with the dark meat and sweet potatoes with no topping.   

The outdoorsman.  The outdoorsmen may arrive a little late to the gathering.  He is usually dressed in camo and could possibly smell of deer urine.  It would not be uncommon for the outdoorsman to have a deceased animal in the back of his truck while joy and merriment take place inside.  The children may find the discovery of Prancer's carcass especially disturbing this close to Christmas, so caution should be taken.  The Black Friday shopper and the outdoorsman may pass each other in the driveway.....leaving early and arriving late.

The medic. The medics are the doctors, pharmacists, x-ray techs, nurses, and physical therapists in the family.  Basically, any family member working in the medical field is fair game for free advice at any and all family gatherings.  Children who hit their heads or wheeze are rushed over to the closest medic. Questions regarding sciatica, rotator cuff pain, drug side effects, migraines, the shingles vaccine, and diarrhea with or without vomiting should all be directed toward a family medic.......but out of earshot of the worrier.        

The fashionista.  Everyone anxiously awaits the arrival of the fashionistas to see what the new trends are.....the hottest colors.....the latest styles.  The fashionistas always come in dressed to the nines.  Throughout the gathering, they can be heard answering questions concerning eyeliner application and hair product preferences.  The fashionista next to the outdoorsman doused with doe urine may not be the most ideal seating arrangement.   
The destructive one.  It's best to keep your eye on this one.  If you don't know where the destructive one is, you better be finding out.  Candles, fireplace matches, key rings with mace, fire pokers, scissors, electric knives, and fingernail polish should be kept on lockdown when the destructor is in the house.  The destructive one should be carefully watched, but never put in the care of the child magnet. 

The vulture.  The vultures come ready to do some damage to the holiday spread.  The organizer will need to know if the vulture will be present or not because his/her attendance can be a game changer in the grocery shopping.  The number of turkeys needed could even vary based on their attendance.  When everyone else has moved on to the dessert table, the vulture is just getting started with his third helping of dressing, turkey, sweet potatoes, and fifth roll.  The vultures are blessed with the gift of consumption and they have no preferences as to who they are seated near as long as there is food. 

Who's coming to your Thanksgiving dinner? 

I hope y'all have a great start to this holiday week!


  1. The Know it All, sign.... but I'll be to busy cooking and visiting in the kitchen..... but for the most part is being with our imperfect, goofy, loving family Giving Thanks, like the picture in your post:) Have a Blessed delicious Thanksgiving Day with family and friends Joni. Kathleen in Az

  2. Oh, this made me laugh!

    Happy Thanksgiving, Joni!


  3. This had me laughing! You described most of my family. Thanks, Joni!