Countdown to Turkey Day: Avoiding family drama

Ivy says:

I come from a long line of people with very short fuses. I also come from a long line of people who are either very heavy drinkers or very anti-drinking. This leads to me not being able to remember more than a handful of family gatherings in my childhood that didn’t break out into a big fight.

Our family gatherings nowadays are very low drama. How’d we do it? Well, we moved 2 states away from most of the troublemakers. But we’re still a bunch with short fuses- how do we keep the drama down? Here’s a guide:

  • Serve dinner on time.
    This could very well be the most important tip of all. Picture hungry, cranky kids plus adults who have spent too long on cocktail hour with nothing substantial to eat, and you’re just asking for trouble.
  • Make a rule: no religion or politics.
    Now, in my immediate family, we’re all the same religion and we all have the same general political leanings, so one would think that wouldn’t lead to problems. It does anyway.
  • Joke it away.
    If someone says something that’s obviously designed to make everyone else mad, my brother is good about stepping in and turning it all into a joke.
  • Get the jerk out of the room.
    You’d be surprised at how a well-timed “Hey, Uncle Bob, I want to show you the rose bush I planted in the backyard. It’s doing something weird and I need your advice.” works. Of course, now you’re stuck with hearing how Uncle Bob faced the Germans 80 years ago, but hey. Anything to keep the peace, right?

And if all else fails, you can always move. Trust me, it works.


  1. Mom of three on November 12, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    Topics I wish we could stray away from:

    Aches and pains (my gosh old people like to complain)
    Social Security (see above)
    George Bush (yeah I know, technically that is politics)

  2. Mom of three on November 12, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    Luckily the one that drives me the craziest, smokes, and I am highly allergic, so I tend to stay inside with the kiddos playing Wii and let her stay outside smoking. If I can manage to do this until Dinner time, then hubby manages to excuse us shortly after the meal to go home and I manage to keep my blood pressure fairly even. Luckily the inlaws don’t drink so we don’t have that issue.

    And trust me, she would know what was wrong with the roses. HINT HINT.

  3. Lisa- Domestic Accident on November 11, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    I think these may be the best tips you have ever offered!

  4. Cricket on November 11, 2008 at 1:03 am

    Ivy, I think you and I must be long lost sisters! Wow!

  5. Alice on November 10, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    Omg, my family is so freaking dramatic and stressful and alcoholic that I am seriously considering dipping out on them and going to a friend’s house. I don’t even like this holiday anyway. But I’m totally paying attention here though because someday I will be an organized grown up and in charge of hosting.

  6. kate on November 10, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    See, here’s the real kicker of the holidays.

    I can whip up pies, turkey and sides like nobody’s business. Keeping the relatives from choking one another is the hard part.

    Thanks for the laugh, Ivy.

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