how to avoid the drama at thanksgiving: family at dinner table
We can all have a nice time if everyone just gets along.
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How to avoid the drama at Thanksgiving? Are you going crazy with worry? Don’t worry. You’ll get through this one like you did last year but with a few exceptions. This time it will be peaceful.

Thanksgiving is without a doubt one of the best holidays on the calendar, next to Christmas and of course, my birthday. But you know what? Getting ready for that one day can be extremely stressful and it can ruin even healthy friendships.

If you know how to avoid the drama, it can be a memorable occasion.  Well, even with the drama, it’s going to be a memorable event, but you know what I mean. 

Thanksgiving is great for the family and friends of the family. You may even invite a person who’s not able to spend time with their family over the holidays. However, if your family is like my family, even that beautiful gesture can start an argument.

You just never know with dysfunctional people what family drama they are going to bring. Some people will take the j out of joy but they must be invited or else pay the consequences. If you have an uncle Charles or an aunt Hazel, you probably know what I’m talking about. It’s chaos!

They will make you think twice about relationships and marriage. How those two stayed together for 20 years is beyond me. Well, there’s help, not for them though but for you.

I’ll share what I’ve learned throughout the years to calm the savage beasts in my house. They are simple, common sense rules to stop the drama.

Making Thanksgiving Day a drama-free day

How to avoid the drama? Be realistic

You already know what’s going to go down with everyone under the same roof so prepare for it by setting yourself up for success. If you know they don’t like your potato salad, have someone else make it. That way, they can’t complain about how you make it.

If you know so-and-so doesn’t want to sit next to the annoying cousin, seat them far apart. Simple changes like those can make a world of difference.

A divided family

Sometimes a VIP is not able to attend. The one way for everyone to still spend time together is to video chat. Pass the phone or tablet around for everyone to speak to the missing family member individually if possible. This way they will feel part of the event and not left out on the evening.

How to avoid the drama with problematic relationships

We all know aunt Hazel and uncle Charles are not going to behave but they are a hoot to have around when they aren’t fussing at each other [and sometimes when they are].

So place them on separate ends of the table and have someone divert their attention throughout the evening when things start to heat up between them. You can’t change who they are, but you can change how you handle them by learning how to avoid the drama.

Change the conversation

Sometimes you gotta be quick and change the subject. Be prepared with a few topics like the many accomplishments the kids are making or tell a good joke. Talk about anything but sensitive subjects like religion and for heaven’s sake, don’t discuss politics!

Don’t talk about the Trump administration or how Black lives matter or how much money you made this year. Nobody wants to hear any of that stuff during Thanksgiving. Save it for another time. That’s how to avoid the drama with those subjects. 

How to avoid the drama? Offer your assistance!

Don’t go to anyone’s house for Thanksgiving dinner and not offer your help or bring a dish or bottle of wine. Do something to help out if it’s nothing but walking the dog. Preparing a huge meal for this day can be challenging as well as expensive so help the hostess take a load off.

And please, don’t throw shade at the cook because she overcooked the zucchini casserole, especially if you didn’t bring a dish. Okay? Okay.

Serve nontraditional foods

Everyone pretty much knows what’s on the menu. You’ve been eating the same foods for the last 100 years and well, we want a little variety. Pinterest or Yummly has thousands of recipes and most are simple meals made from the foods you normally purchase.

Do something different to the chicken this year or to the beef. Perhaps, prepare a vegan dish. You never know who’s not eating meat these days.

How to avoid the drama? Prepare in advance

Plan your meal early. Do what you can as far in advance as you possibly can. Don’t try to cook everything in one day. Some dishes or desserts can be frozen until the big day.

Who’s coming to dinner?

Oh yeah, you know somebody is going to invite somebody who wasn’t invited. Please, make sure you tell the host before you show up with Becky.  We really want to avoid the drama at Thanksgiving.

Otherwise, make enough for at least two extra people. If you made too much food, people can take a plate home. Buy to-go boxes or paper plates and make their plates so you can control portions.

You and I both know some people will walk away with ten plates so they don’t have to cook for a week. Yes, this is the same person who didn’t bring anything.

Just say “aah”

After dinner is over, relax. Designate a couple of people to help put away the plates and stick them in the dishwasher. You shouldn’t have to cook and wash the dishes. Who does that?

Put out the drama-free zone sign, pour yourself a glass of wine and head outside to get a breath of fresh air. If it’s too cold outside, try heading to your room for a little one-on-one time with yourself.

Keep a sense of humor

Honey, you can’t let everything bother you. If someone said something silly, let it slide. It can wait if you must confront this person. Besides, letting it go, you may find it isn’t worth your time after all and forget about it. 

However, you gotta laugh at some of it cause it is funny. If you want my opinion on how to avoid the drama, my advice is you gotta choose your battles. Admit the dog’s lease getting tangled into granny’s walker and pulling her down the hall was pretty funny. It was an accident, so let it go. 

How to avoid the drama as the last resort

Don’t cook. I mean, if it’s going to be a throw down at Thanksgiving, don’t do it. Go out for dinner or go over to their house but don’t host the dinner at your house. It’s just that simple.


At the end of the day, holiday traditions aren’t set in stone. You can change the way you do things. All you have to do is do it. Remember, Thanksgiving is about giving thanks and it doesn’t have to be a large family gathering.

How to avoid the drama Thanksgiving Day? Make it an intimate setting for two. The meal can be just for the four of you. It’s what you make it, really.

How to avoid Drama on Thanksgiving Day ?
How to avoid Thanksgiving Day Drama? Dinner for two!

Hey, who has any suggestions? What can we do to make Thanksgiving Day dinner great again? [hahaha! Yes, I said it.] Let us know. Oh, by the way, you may want to check out my girl, BMackwrites.  She has some helpful hints you don’t want to miss.

Do you want to know what I’m thankful for? You! Thanks a lot for reading this blog and have a wonderful holiday season.

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