Reading Time: 2 minutes

For some of us, the holiday approaches with fond memories and a loving family. For everyone else, here are the 12 warning signs that this beloved and totally not genocidal holiday is about to take a sharp left turn.

1. There’s a wooden cut-out on the wall that reads “Gratitude”

If you have to display it…

2. Your uncle leans over to you on the couch and starts a conversation with “you know, the thing about Black Lives Matter-“

He’s been watching some videos online and has some opinions he’s ready to share.

3. The chef declares that they’re going to spice up the recipes this year

No. Stop it. We come here to eat the same meal every year. Potatoes. Green beans. Stuffing. I’m not slathering cranberry sauce on meat at any other point during the year. Do not take this from me.

4. Your father had some projects around the house he’d like you to help with

Nothing screams Thanksgiving more than pulling your back and arguing with your dad as you try to rewire the deck lights.

5. They’re letting aunt Karen cook some of the side dishes this year

Everyone knows she can’t cook. She doesn’t salt the mashed potatoes. Just because she went through a divorce this year doesn’t mean we have to suffer.

6. You ask your cousin how he’s doing, and he says that he’s going to “save it for when everyone is at the table”

It’s either an MLM or a cult.

7. Your other uncle brought his much younger girlfriend

Oh god, he’s wearing a diamond stud in his ear too. And she’s trying to explain to you what your sign means. 

8. Your aunt has a distant look in her eyes and she’s smoking again

She’s just keeping it together, but the moment someone asks her how her year’s been, the floodgates will open.

9. There are no children present

They are loud, yes, but they are the perfect human buffers. How can you talk politics when a child is constantly banging into the table and having a tantrum?

10. You’re being put up in your childhood bedroom

Be prepared for a long night ahead of looking around your old room and seeing the potential you once had, what you could have been.

11. Your brother has decided to quit whatever drug he’s on

Now is not the time, Paul. You want to disassociate more during the holidays, not less.

12. Your younger sister is trying to explain the true meaning of Thanksgiving

She takes one history course in undergrad and now all of a sudden she’s Robert Caro.


It’s a minefield out there folks. Take care, keep your head down, and you might make it out with leftovers instead of trauma.

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Casey Karaman is a writer, performer, improviser, and teacher who has worked with the Washington Improv Theater. He has performed in multiple theater productions, most recently in Second City's production...