The travel, the overeating, the family fights, the leftovers, the deep fried turkey accidents… How on earth do we make it through the most gluttonous American holiday each year?

Getting There In One Piece

You want to get there safe, right? Not everybody has their mind on the road, and the kids fighting in the back seat can take your attention away from driving, too. Play the “quiet game”, or better yet, tell them funny stories about Thanksgiving when you were a kid. Maybe you can give them some harmless dirt on somebody who will be attending, and it can be your private joke with the kids all day.

The Waiting

You made it safe to your destination, but now, one of the most grueling tests begins in earnest–waiting for the feast. Since hovering near the kitchen isn’t going to make that bird cook any faster, make yourself look like a hero by getting the kids and the non-cooks outside for a game. Toss the old pigskin around in the yard, or if you have more room, maybe a nice archery contest. The cooks in the house will love you even more, for getting the kids out from under their feet, and giving them a little peace and quiet while they finish up their hard work.

The Pressure Cooker

No, I’m not talking about pressure frying your turkey to perfection. I’m talking about the stressful kind of pressure cooker. Maybe it’s before dinner, maybe it’s after, but at some point you’re going to get stressed out. If you can’t go to your “happy place” in your mind, then find something else to ease the tension. Think about the upcoming day you’re going to call in sick to work, and actually spend the day in your tree stand. Think about that new knife you’re going to buy yourself that is no one else’s business. Or get a little diabolical. For years, my niece and I would sneak one biscuit or roll before baking, fill it with red chili flakes, and sneak it back onto the pan. After it baked, not even we could tell which one it was. It was our version of “biscuit roulette”, to see who got a mouthful of fire.

The Feast

Give thanks and eat slowly is my motto. After sitting down, you can share one thing for which you are truly thankful. This is a simple tradition, and it’s a classic that really sets the right tone for the day, and it keeps everybody from shoveling the food down like they normally would. Also, I keep a one plate rule in effect for all holidays. I fill up one plate with whatever I want, I eat it slowly, and I don’t get anymore.

We here at OL Survival wish you and yours a happy and safe Thanksgiving. Please share your funny or scary Thanksgiving stories in the comments.