The Ten Commandments of Thanksgiving Weekend
1. Thou shalt be unimpressive.
The table can be pretty, the food can be amazing, and your hair can look like Gillian Anderson's in The Fall, but don't waste any mental energy doing those things to impress people. Being impressive means you're evoking admiration, that you're actively trying to make someone think you're great. There's nothing wrong with a beautiful, delicious holiday, but you'll be as a hollow as a destuffed turkey if you let your desire to impress run the show.
2. Thou shalt avoid political discussions.
It doesn't matter if everyone around your table agrees with each other. Politics only get us riled up, and turkeys need us calm to improve digestion and enjoyment. If you have to talk about the country, do it during the after-meal walk when no one is looking directly at each other and you're already working with an accelerated heart rate.
3. Remember the new Gilmore Girls, and watch it slowly.
It releases the day after Thanksgiving, so if the football games on Thursday are lame, check out this handy guide to the episodes you should watch based on your Gilmore threshold and prepare prepare prepare. If you plan on watching all six hours of the new series at once, give yourself time in between episodes to smile, to look around at your fellow Gilmorians, to replenish the leftover pumpkin pie, and enjoy the process. This is all we get, folks. Let it breathe.
4. Do not covet your neighbor's Instagram holiday.
Instagram is the best, and it also makes us crazy. If you lose sight of Commandment Number One, checking Instagram will turn you into an angry nut job that takes out her comparison anger on poor Uncle Frank who just doesn't get your rosemary sprig place cards. If you feel comparison poking at your soul, hide your phone, at least for the day.
5. Thou shalt hide your phone for a day.
Even if you're not comparing, our phones keep us from remembering. I'm still wigged out by the study that tested the memories of people who a) experienced a moment and b) those who took pictures of the moment. Guess who actually remembered the moment? I'm not trying to make any of us feel guilty for playing Spider Solitaire in the closet to escape our racist grandma, but if you can, hide the phone and enjoy the day.
6. Thou shalt not feel guilty for hating Black Friday.
Some of you have family traditions of standing in the cold outside a Best Buy, and more power to you. If you love it, if you're buying things that your people will truly love come Christmastime, I salute you. But to the rest of you who feel like Black Friday and its subsequent 30ish days of shopping feels like a slow death, don't feel guilty for not participating. Remember that around here, we're lazy about the things that don't matter. If stuff doesn't matter to you, don't worry about getting that impressive cashmere sweater that you're not sure you'll actually wear even though it's 50% off of Money You Still Have to Spend.
7. Thou shalt eat without worrying about calories.
Eat what you want. Stop when you're full. Glad we had this talk.
8. Thou shalt encourage the cook.
Making dinner for a ton of people is stressful. If you're doing it, mad props. If your mom or brother or grandma is doing it, encourage them up and down and let them know how much you appreciate them. Not just the food but them for making it.
9. Thou shalt notice your motivations.
Are you hoping everyone likes you? For zero conflict? That you're right about how long the turkey should cook? How we act is determined by what motivates us to act. Notice your motivations, and you'll have a lovely holiday. Bonus points if you're able to peg the motivations of your friends and family. Empathy, peeps.
10. Thou shalt not kill anyone in your family while you decorate for Christmas.
A lot of us buy a tree the day after Thanksgiving and spend the rest of the weekend burning down the house in frustration I mean decorating for Christmas. No worries; I've got your back.