How to survive Thanksgiving dinner

Keira Sarni

More stories from Keira Sarni

May 24, 2022

A young Keira Sarni snacks on the Sarni family’s Thanksgiving feast circa 2006.

Set the scene.

Annual nap on the couch goes wrong when Uncle Mike lays on top of us. (Photo provided by Keira Sarni ’22)

You pull out your seat at the end of the dinner table. You sit down, look around, and notice your surroundings. The table is set with the chinaware that your mom only breaks out on Thanksgiving (or if the queen were coming to visit), and the candles are lit. Every Thanksgiving food you can imagine sits on the table: turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, gravy, green beans, and rolls. You smile as you see your little cousins getting ready to say grace. Hands fold.

My grandpa gets ready to chomp into a turkey leg, with teeth still in his mouth. (Photo Provided by Keira Sarni ’22)

Suddenly, BAM! Your grandpa’s dentures fall straight out of his mouth while, in unison, your family prays: “from thy bounty. Through Christ, our Lor-ohhh.” He slurps them back into his mouth quickly, hoping no one noticed. What do you do? You can’t laugh, but do you just stare down at the…now that you’re actually looking closely at them, rather green mashed potatoes? Anyways, here’s a guide on how to survive Thanksgiving dinner.

My dad trying to ease the tension with awkward pictures. (Photo provided by Keira Sarni)

Your dad tries to distract everyone from grandpa’s stray dentures by cutting into the turkey. He grabs the knife and cuts into the skin as everyone’s mouths water. Oh no! The turkey starts smoking and compares to one Christmas turkey from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” What do you do? Elena Walz ’22 says she would “just eat it anyway. Food is food, no matter its semblance to a cheesy holiday comedy.”

Now that everyone is gnawing on their rather dry turkey and moldy mashed potatoes, the room is silent. Rather than talking about what everyone is thankful for or, perhaps, lying and saying how delicious the food is, everyone stares down at their rather full plates.

Desperately, your uncle tries to fill the void of silence by discussing his latest idea to improve the world. He believes that everyone should just revert back to the caveman days and, instead of talking, speak in different variations of grumbles and grunts. He then proceeds to give his best reenactment of how he thinks a caveman would eat at Thanksgiving. While your uncle is grunting while standing on the table with handfuls of sweet potatoes in each hand, everyone slowly looks up at him. What do you do? Katie Thomas ’22 says, “I would probably spend a few moments staring: shocked, afraid, a little bit confused. And then…I would join him. I mean, the more the merrier right? I love grunting when I’m angry or upset, so why not take that negative association and turn it around? Make it positive? I would focus on the positivity.”

My uncle slices up the turkey for Thanksgiving. Sorry Vegans! (Photo Provided by Keira Sarni ’22)
Sarni cousins serve up Thanksgiving goodness. (Photo Provided by Keira Sarni ’22)

Your mom tries to civilize you and your uncle, and you both sit down. Your mom decides that it is time to clear the table and move on to dessert. Everyone pitches in to clear the plates faster so that this train-wreck of a dinner can be over. You start to cut up the pumpkin pie to serve on the dessert plates. Suddenly, your five-year-old twin cousins start to cover themselves from head to toe with the whipped cream meant to go on the pie and start playing frisbee with your great-grandma’s chinaware. They shatter some of the plates and glass covers the floor. Danielle Perez ’22 says that she would “Woah, I mean I’d join in the game of frisbee, of course! I mean if you can’t beat em, join em.” The three of you shatter all of the plates.

On that note, your family decides to end Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone leaves, and you are left with a feeling of accomplishment, knowing that you somewhat survived Thanksgiving dinner.

Royal Reporters Liz Martinez and I perform a Thanksgiving show for our family in Kindergarten. (Photo Provided by Keira Sarni ’22)