This Thanksgiving won’t be your first time at the Rodeo. No, sir. It won’t be mine, either. Just so you can be prepared, we are going to review the various types of Thanksgiving guests who will drive you crazy this year.
After all, this is the 21st century, the decade of the non-gmo turkey. (Can turkeys be non-gmo? Do they just need to eat non-gmo corn? Must look that up!) You have the family coming over and Thanksgiving is a mere four weeks away. You have probably started receiving your dictates: Janie is fatally allergic to all tree nuts, Charles is vegan due to his cholesterol, Bitty is off the Mediterranean plan and doing paleo instead.
You didn’t really think you would just be getting together twelve place settings, ordering a turkey to cook, and mashing up some sweet potatoes did you? This is 2014; it’s not quite that simple. Here is a helpful guide to decoding and preparing for the nine types of Thanksgiving guests you will deal with at some point this year.
1. The Inquisitor. This is in all likelihood your skinny sister-in-law. Upon arrival at your house, she asks for a map of the neighborhood so she can get in her morning jog. As she watches you prepare food for twelve, (four of them likely being her brood), she peppers you with various questions. “Where did you get the turkey from?” Hint…Acme is the wrong answer. “Are your sweet potatoes locally sourced and non- GMO?” I don’t know, do they grow potatoes in Delaware? “Are you serving corn in that stuffing? Do you know about corn? How do you not know about corn?” Because I am tired and isn’t it better than McDonalds? Does McDonalds open the drive-thru on Thanksgiving?
2. The Observer. This is frequently a mother-in-law (NOT MINE), who seems to have decided that upon handing down the maternal torch, she will observe, but not participate, in holiday preparation. She has all sorts of helpful suggestions: “Don’t they make play pens anymore? Wouldn’t it be a lot easier to cook the turkey and whip up the pie if the baby was in a play-pen? That’s always where I put the boys when I cooked.” Yes, I am sure it was easier to prepare Thanksgiving with the children imprisoned in a small, definitely made in China, collapsible jail-pen.
3. The Vegan. Don’t lie. You totally have one of these folks coming over this Thanksgiving. Very likely this is your twelve year old niece who has decided that the world is cruel and that consuming an animal imbues you with said animal’s fear and anger at its time of death. And in the case of most turkeys, I imagine this is a LOT of fear. So the vegan’s mom calls you in advance to let you know that Suzy’s food must be prepared with no dairy products or animal fats. She suggests you use some almond milk to mix with the potatoes. Yum.
4. The Tippler, aka the drinker. You know you’ve got one too, come on, admit it. If you have twelve guests, it is nearly statistically impossible not to have a “fun Uncle Bobby,” right? You stand at the stove, one child in a Bjorn, steaming the non-gmo kale for the vegan, and watch with one eyeball as Uncle Bobby tosses a scotch back with one hand and throws your precious toddler in the air with the other.
5. The Over-sharer. You love your over-sharer, admit it. Your seventy year old aunt is the life of the party, or at least she thinks so. Although why the over-sharer insists on bombarding you with the graphic details of her chronic sinus infection and a frightening blow by blow description of her mucous is beyond you. Surely she could over-share something less disturbing… like her sex life when she had one, or the story of her hysterectomy.
6. The Picker. This is the one that kills you. Your dad or grand-dad who just cannot wait until the food is on the table to start eating. It’s gotten so bad that you now have to prepare a mini turkey to set out while you prepare the real turkey, to prevent him from peeling all the skin off of your (hopefully) beautiful bird. You also have to set out a special bowl of sweet potatoes for him to double dip his fingers in while you get the table set and ready to go. (Hey, at least it’s not the mucous lady who is double dipping…)
7. The Child Who Is Allergic To Everything (Actually the child’s mother). Okay, so before you go nuts (no pun intended), allergies are real and I always clear our house of products relatives are allergic to. But there are allergies and there are “allergies.” I am referring to the guest who asks for new pillows and blankets “Johnnie seems to be allergic to the down.” Check. Stop putting kids to bed to look for new bedding. “Oh, and while your at it, could you possibly lock your animals in the garage the next three days, I think he may be allergic to them as well.” Sure, because you forgot about the five animals we have had for the last ten years.
8. The Instigator. This is almost always a little brother. Yep, you know the one. He raises and eyebrow and smirks and makes sure to ask, within earshot of the vegan and inquisitor “Are you sure you made the baked potatoes with kale broth…I could have sworn I saw you pouring high-sodium chicken broth in there sis…”
9. The Closet Eater. This one is tough, you don’t really want to accuse anyone, let alone a relative, of eating all the Thanksgiving pies while you were sleeping. But the thing is, the stores are closed on Thanksgiving, so if you wake up and discover that all the pies have a bite missing and the whipped cream has run away with the honey-buns, you are SOL. If your solution is to hide the food in the garage the night before, you may want to rethink it. Because if the closet eater catches on to what you are doing, he or she may sneak out to the garage at one in the morning, setting off your house alarm, waking twenty guests and summoning six police cars to your home. You know I didn’t make that up.
At the end of the day Thanksgiving is about family, and I love my family dearly. I love my parents and my in-laws and feel incredibly blessed to spend Thanksgiving with them. I feel incredibly blessed that my family can afford to eat every Thanksgiving, and that I don’t have to worry about whether or not I will be able to get food on the table. So enjoy your inquisitor, your Instigator and your closet eater. After all, they are yours.
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