In a typical year, about 50 million Americans make the pilgrimage back home to spend Thanksgiving with their families over Thanksgiving break. While this year might look a little different, it’s still stressful. As an adult, this yearly visit can be nice, but as a student, it’s often the dreaded break before finals that leave you overstuffed, underwhelmed, and wishing you’d just stayed in and put on reruns of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.
It doesn’t matter how old you are; heading home for the holidays is always a tricky task. Navigating Thanksgiving break this year amid the political climate, divided nation, and overall health risks can make it even more daunting than usual. Need help surviving? We’ve got your back.
How to survive Thanksgiving break at home
1. SPEND TIME WITH THE KIDS
Nobody’s more intense and invasive than your aunt who wants to know when you’ll finally settle down or your cousin who infuses her negative energy into every dramatic conversation she starts. When you need a break from Thanksgiving break, simply take a deep breath and seek out the kids. Head outside for a game of basketball, start a game of Go Fish, or just sit around and color. It’ll make the stressful times pass faster.
2. COME WITH A THANKSGIVING DESSERT
Thanksgiving desserts are often the star of the show, so if you know that you often get into scuffles and debates with certain family members, come prepared with a delectable Thanksgiving dessert that’ll ease the tension. Better yet, take the time to look up a recipe with your parents or siblings, and (if you don’t think it’ll make matters worse) cook the dessert with them. It’s bonding, it’s sugar, it’s all good.
3. LOAD YOUR PHONE WITH APPS
Thanksgiving break is the sleepy, quiet time between Halloween and Christmas where you’re often left feeling full and sluggish without much to do. This year, expect that times ten as the CDC is recommending that you try to avoid heading out into public in large groups as much as possible. So, to avoid getting bitten by boredom, load your phone with the right kind of apps. Definitely download a mindfulness app to help calm you down, a few games, and a Burner app that’ll let you keep your private life private from prying eyes.
4. RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO TINDER IN YOUR HOMETOWN
Online dating is pretty safe, and it’s quite relaxing to mindlessly swipe through photos of strangers when you’re trying to distract yourself from family issues and political debates during Thanksgiving break. However, resist the urge to Tinder while visiting your hometown because repeat after me: it won’t lead to anything worthwhile. At best, you’ll end up encountering a zombie from your past who wants to revive an old relationship from the dead.
5. SHOW OFF A NEW SKILL
If you come from a critical family, the key to surviving Thanksgiving break at home is being prepared to show off a new skill. Lather yourself up in some Lizzo-level confidence, throw any and all shame away, and don’t be afraid to dazzle your family and friends with a new skill. It’s the best way to show them how you’ve grown, thereby deflecting any critical comments away from you and onto someone else who didn’t think to plan ahead (sorry, baby bro).
6. HAVE AN ESCAPE PLAN
When the questions start coming in hot and the conversation switches to politics and conspiracy theories, make sure you’re prepared with an exit plan. For this, we suggest having a fake phone call app on your phone. You know, the kind that you can program to call you at a certain time or at the push of a button. Or, team up with another friend who’s home for Thanksgiving break and plan to save each other in your Burner phones as someone important like your boss or landlord. Then, if things get to be too much, have them call your Burner phone and pretend it’s an emergency. Nobody will be any the wiser.
7. SKIP THE SHOTS & EGGNOG
It’s tempting to pour a few more shots of liquor into your eggnog or to load up on those Thanksgiving-themed drinks. But, resist. Skipping alcohol this Thanksgiving break can actually make things feel easier to navigate, especially if you’ve been feeling anxious, depressed, upset, or stressed. Avoid alcohol altogether and focus on the positives: time off from work and time to rest and eat good food. There’s a lot to be thankful for.
8. USE A BURNER PHONE FOR PRIVATE CALLS
We’ve mentioned Burner a few times already because, well, it’s a helpful tool for when you’re trying to separate your private and public lives (or when you flat out want to prevent people from digging into your business).
If the part that stresses you out the most about visiting family for Thanksgiving break is the fact that they’re always prying into your private life, get a Burner number beforehand. You’ll be able to direct private, personal contacts to that number and snooze notifications, save contacts, and set up specific calling settings as you see fit. After all, nobody needs to know you’re still seeing Dan from accounting who caused a scene at last year’s Thanksgiving dinner.
Create your second number today to enjoy unlimited calling, texting, and picture messaging plus spam blocking over Thanksgiving break and beyond.