2018: This is an updated version of last year’s post. Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow fans. I wish you all a joyous and meaningful holiday season.
Happy Thanksgiving! Headed off to see family this weekend or next month? The holidays can be a trying time, whether you hail from the eighteenth century or the twenty-first. Here’s a handy guide to getting through it all.
1. Try to call ahead
Avoid awkward situations and phone first.
2. Bring a thoughtful gift to your hosts
Don’t show up empty handed. A nice bottle of Carolina Moonshine, an interesting book, or a small posy of local flowers are always safe bets. Random skulls you find on the forest floor are for a more discerning taste and are perhaps best left at home.
3. Stay out of family disputes
Has your husband just accused your sister-in-law of playing whore to the area’s most notorious sadist? Does your nephew keep running away from home? It might not be your place to intervene, especially if it’s been awhile (say, twenty years) since you’ve seen everyone. Wisely stay out of it and just enjoy the fireworks.
4. Be respectful of your host’s home
Namely, don’t destroy their potting shed in a fit of rage. But also remember to wipe your shoes, help out with chores, and keep your feet off the furniture.
5. Steer clear of politics
Hard to do in an election year, but decide whether it’s worth it to engage with opposite-minded relatives. No doubt some members of your family support the Jacobite uprising while others are convinced it’s a doomed effort. Try to set differences aside and be thankful for family, even if your grandfather and uncles are manipulative and murderous.
6. Go easy on the alcohol
Honestly, you never know what’s in that crème de menthe.
7. Make the best of it if you’re forced to share a room
We all have to make sacrifices this time of year. Remember, the whore gets the bigger bed.
8. Temper your expectations
Real life holidays are rarely like the movies. Surprise engagements may not go over so well. If it’s romance you’re craving, just go watch a Hallmark Channel movie version of Christmas. (Ahem)
9. Enjoy the party but keep your wits about you
Nothing is ever as innocent as it seems. A couple of glasses of cherry bounce, a turn around the dance floor, then BAM! You might just find yourself inconveniently married to your first wife’s arch nemesis.
10. Remember your furry family members
Serious advice here. Most of you know I’m a veterinarian in my non-Outlander life. The day after Thanksgiving is notoriously one of our busiest days of the year, and the usual culprit for visits is dietary indiscretion (which can lead to pancreatitis, diarrhea or constipation, vomiting and dehydration, and/or intestinal obstruction). Please don’t feed Thanksgiving treats or leftovers to your pets and keep them away from the kiddy table where things that may be toxic (grapes, raisins, chocolate) might fall on the floor. Keep tinsel and ribbon away from cats so they don’t accidentally swallow it. Make sure your pets don’t get too overwhelmed with guests and give them lots of extra love. And try to avoid skunks as much as possible.
11. Be grateful for loved ones
Life is short and our time together is fleeting. Give thanks and hold your loved ones close.