Holiday Dinner: A Field Guide

If you are like me, and disturbed by situations that seem common place to others, you are a little bit freaked out about the upcoming holidays. For example, on Thanksgiving Day, it may seem confusing to you that family members who have spent the entire year telling you not to eat carbs are now loading you down with cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes, bread rolls, and three types of pie. This is part of the bizarre nature of the holidays and you will have to learn to cope without seeming odd. Luckily, this year I am writing a field guide to get you through these types of events.

First, upon entering any dining area, you should immediately assess the number of items on the table. This will be your first clue as to the length of the meal. As a general rule, the more stuff there is on the table, the longer you will be required to linger over the meal making small talk. A good sign is to see one plate on the table per person. Also, one knife, fork, and spoon per person is a good ratio. This means that the individual in charge of planning the holiday meal has not set unreasonable expectations for the experience. You will therefore be able to eat your food and get on with the rest of your life without unreasonable delay.

However, if you enter the room and see chargers*, bowls on top of plates, multiple sizes of forks, candles, and a centerpieces of any kind, you are in for the long haul. This stuff took a long time to set up and you can’t just put food on your plate and take it to the living room to go watch TV.

You will now be required to load a plate down with food to eat while talking about relatives you barely know. You should probably go ahead and figure out what to tell people when they ask how your job is going, and why are aren’t planning to have any more kids. Despite the fact there are numerous hand-held devices with which people can be entertained, they have set up this table and prepared this food so that you will entertain them by talking. And, no… you are not allowed to piss them off.

If you are not afraid to seem odd, this shirt might deflect some unwanted attention.

Despite your enormous plate of food, you will most likely get bored at some point during this process. To aid you in making it through the experience, I have provided a list of appropriate activities you may use to distract yourself during the holiday meal. These are all approved activities. When performed within the parameters documented below, these actions will not draw undue attention to the fact that you just want to ignore everyone and play Angry Birds on your phone.

Proper dinner activities include:

  • Pushing food around the plate with your fork. This will work as long as you do not get carried away and create entire food sculptures or castles with gravy moats. Also, do not ask for extra cranberries for the finishing touches on your potato snow man. That is going way too far.
  • Intense study of the formal centerpiece. You should note that it is important not touch or prod the centerpiece in any way as they are extremely top heavy and can tumble over without warning. I don’t care if you are wondering why there is a little bird in there with a pumpkin, DO NOT touch it.
  • Asking for extra ice so you can watch it melt. This activity is limited to ice placed IN the glass ONLY. Do not place melting ice in any other location.
  • Drinking more wine.

This year, I will also be taking mental notes to enter into Twitter. This is going to be my first annual Twitter Event in which I bitchtweet** all through Thanksgiving day. I know I will have lots of time to type things into Twitter while pretending to watch the football game. I may even attempt to complete Twitter entries during the meal itself, I will let you know how this goes over. If anyone has any advice for concealing Twitter-related devices during a formal Thanksgiving type situation, I would be glad to hear it.

Explanation of Terms:

*Charger – A plate you put underneath another plate which is not actually used for eating but that you will be asked to wash by hand once the meal is over. Do not ask why you have to wash a plate that no one has, or will ever, eat from. You will never get a satisfactory explanation. Unless, of course, you ask The Bloggess. She will tell you: “They’re those fancy plates that you put plates on. They’re ridiculous. I’m not using plates for plates.” I fully agree.

**Bitchtweet – To bitch about a specific topic on Twitter. Here is an example of proper usage in  which BlogDramedy encourages me to join NaNoWriMo, a 50,000 word writing challenge: “Join in…you, me, Shouts. We can be writing buddies and sit around and bitchtweetabout how many words we have not written yet.”

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About lgalaviz
All of this hardly seems necessary.

14 Responses to Holiday Dinner: A Field Guide

  1. Being borderline pathologically antisocial, this sounds like a vision from hell. If hell were to exist, and I were to be destined for it (after all, who are we kidding?), it would probably be an eternal formal dinner event, complete with required small talk. That or me having to move house over and over again. Either or.These are great tips, though! And if I wasn't so lucky as to live half a day away by air from my family, I would no doubt put them into practice this year. But I am and they do so I won't.

  2. blogdramedy says:

    I guess I now have to come up with a handbook: Bitchtweet Basics for Beginners." Like The Napkin Drop…drop, roll and tweet. Insisting on someone saying Grace (a godly tweet) over and over. Or maybe…whoa! Wait! These are MY blog post ideas…go away you charmer you!

  3. Tzipporah says:

    I look forward to reading your tweets throughout the holiday dinner I may or may not be attending.

  4. Maryann says:

    OH, man, you are GOOD!! You managed not only to be HILARIOUS, but also HELPFUL!!!! You rock! Also, I love this word: bitchtweetThank you, Lisa, for once again cracking me up! p.s. PLEASE don't get caught trying to tweet during the Thanksgiving meal!! I have no idea what the penalty is for such behavior, but it can't be good.

  5. Debihen says:

    I'd suggest confiding privately to the biggest blabber-mouth in the group that you have an "incontinence" issue and will have to excuse yourself to use the restroom frequently. Use this bathroom time to Tweet. No need to explain; blabber-mouth will tell EVERYONE (in the strictest confidence, of course) your bladder issues, and everyone will leave you alone. They will cluck knowingly to each other every time you jump up to "USE THE FACILITIES". Then you can Tweet away in relative comfort, whenever you want. Or, alternatively, you could just keep your phone in your lap and everyone will think you are weird for staring at your crotch all through the meal.

  6. LGalaviz says:

    @heinakroon… Yes, that sounds like me. I'll see you in hell. Oh wait… I won't because you live inconveniently far away from there.

  7. LGalaviz says:

    @blogdramedy… Too late. Jotting this down.

  8. LGalaviz says:

    @Tzipporah… I'll be extremely grateful to have a sympathetic audience.

  9. LGalaviz says:

    @Maryann… Will I would LOVE to take credit for the word, bitchtweet, as it validates most of what I do on twitter, it originated with Blogdramedy.

  10. LGalaviz says:

    @Debihen… Genius. That is all.

  11. plumsauce10 says:

    Okay so you've just given me yet another reason to be eternally grateful that we live in a country that insists of celebrating things only when completely necessary. In the space you have had two celebrations in which to appear peppy and friendly we have had none… Unless you count the 5th November where we celebrated the fact that we got to hang, draw, and quarter someone by creating dummy versions of him, stick them on a bonfire and watch them slowly burn while explosions are sent off into the sky… Other than that, we've just been plain sailing through to Christmas.

  12. Tweeting at the table should be fairly simple. If there are chargers, there will certainly be a tablecloth under which the Twitter-related device can be hidden. Then, should anyone ask why you are constantly looking into your lap, you simply tell them that you are so thankful for the delicious food and excellent company that you must stop and give thanks for your blessings every few minutes. It will help if you occasionally close your eyes and mumble to yourself.

  13. Lesley says:

    Its always been Thanksgiving and family for me! This year I will be spending it just with my mother. Who is quite spiffy. I'll be making the food…which we will be eating ON THE COUCH! WHOOT! There will be much wine and much TV. I will tweet you while you tweet about your family. Hee hee. Sorry. But if I were to do a big group of people as was the past oh…18 years of my life. Since I am now a "professional" *did I spell that right* Chef? I will have to have all those place settings that you menitoned. Also, I'll be leaving in 2 weeks for Italy after Turkey Day with Beyonce. *YOU know who I mean* and I will be thinking of you!

  14. Handflapper says:

    Somehow I have managed to escape all holiday-related familial obligations, which all take place at my sister-in-law's house, because no way am I putting myself out by cleaning or cooking for those assholes, since Memorial Day, which was combined into a graduation party for her son, my nephew. And oh, did I bitch-tweet that day. I also think I doubled my twitter following that day. I highly recommend the bitch-tweeting of all family get-togethers. It's the only thing that makes them the least bit bearable.

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