Jenny's 5-Step Guide to Surviving Thanksgiving (and all holidays thereafter)

Author: Jenny Lind Conlee | www.jennylindconlee.com  | @jennylindconlee

She said in her soft, sweet voice, “I’m getting maternity pants to wear at Thanksgiving”. No, this was not an expectant mother. This was my husband’s late grandma, Martha. She was a beautiful and fun lady. She thought it was a great idea. We thought it was hilarious. She was a good one, folks. One of the best, and one of my favorites. This will be our fourth holiday season without her, as well as the first holiday without my mother in law (who passed unexpectedly in June), and I just want to put on my fat pants and eat all the things in a way that would make those sassy sweet ladies proud.

Grandma was onto something. Why should we experience discomfort - physical or emotional - during a season of gratitude. A season of abundance. A season of FOOD. Especially when holidays kind of suck anyway. So, having set the stage: get out your fat pants and let’s look at some ways to tackle turkey day head on!


Jenny’s Survival Guide to Thanksgiving 


  1. It’s messy. Brace yourself. It’s not going to be perfect, so stop trying. You’re not going to change your racist grandpa. Your dad will always make the best stuffing. Or maybe not. But he’ll still be your dad. Embrace the imperfection and find a way to laugh about it. 

  2. Delegate. You’ve watched all five seasons of the Great British Baking Show on Netflix and you’re convinced that even though you’ve never made one before that you can make a croquembouche center piece for your table that is both beautiful and delicious. Your family will talk about it for years to come! Stop it! Have your aunty pick up a pumpkin pie from Costco and make sure she gets enough whipped topping so that each slice has the appropriate topping to pie ratio.  If one thing is going to ruin your holiday, it’s unfortunate ratios.

  3. No politics. For the love of all that’s good and right in this world, if you want to keep being a family, do not even breathe a word regarding the election (including but not limited to: county commissioner, class president and chairperson of the rotary club.) I know. Hard not to do! Especially on social media. Please refrain from quippy memes. Just enjoy a hot caramel apple cider and reflect on simpler times. Like when your biggest concern was if Ben Affleck was a suitable choice to play Batman.

  4. Don’t set your house on fire. Fried turkey is superior for bird day, but causes many accidents, injuries and in some cases - even death. Amidst the chaos of the holiday, remember: Safety first. Your family might drive you crazy. You may want to burn the place down. Don’t do it. Have fire extinguishers and first aid kits on hand.

  5. Maybe don’t think about the depressing origin of this holiday. We stole their land and then invited them to a dinner party? Let’s not forget the side dish of SMALLPOX we also shared. Tell me what we’re celebrating again?! Oh, forget it. Dish me up some sweet potato casserole. You know, the one with the toasted marshmallows on top. 

Whitney Parnell1 Comment