By Sean Kearney

Every holiday has its own form of preparation: get green clothes for St. Patrick’s Day, get your presents together for Christmas, try to figure out what Flag Day is about.  Thanksgiving’s coming up and there’s plenty to prep for.  Thanksgiving requires an iron constitution (stomach) and expert planning.  Here are a few tips for your turkey-related endeavors:

Stretch That Stomach: Half the fun of Thanksgiving is the great American past-time of eating your face off.  A few days before Thanksgiving, start drinking tons of water to get your stomach to Thanksgiving-size.  You don’t want to walk into dinner with a small plate, gingerly poking around at some peas and corn.  People who don’t eat tons at Thanksgiving simply can’t be trusted.  Stretch that stomach and dare your grandma to offer you another piece of pie.  Also, it will be good to stay hydrated during the inevitable post-dinner catatonic nap fest.

Pace Yourself:  Being at school now for a few months, you can expect to forget how good a home-cooked meal actually is.  This home-cooked feast will leave you wanting to munch at a frightening rate…don’t do it.  You need to plan for the future, and by the future, I mean plates 2, 3, and the subsequent desert of pies and other seasonal baked goods.  You don’t want to hit that coma stage early.

Conversation Pieces:  We all love our families.  You wouldn’t be prepping for Thanksgiving if you didn’t.  But let’s face it – things change.  You’ve been away at school for a few months, meeting new friends, partying with the old.  Your old life and your new one might not see eye-to-eye.  When your
family asks you what you do in your spare time, be prepared.  I’m already thinking of the ways to explain what a Four Loco is, and why they exist.

Wildcard Uncles:  Uncles represent the wildcards of families.  At any point, you can go from getting a sweet story about his college days hitchhiking, to Led Zeppelin shows, to getting knee-deep in his most recent divorce.  Much of this unpredictability comes with the no-rules approach most uncles take toward booze.  Whether it’s an after-dinner glass of wine, or an ill-advised afternoon whiskey on the rocks, the uncle’s drinking habits are both puzzling and potentially volatile.  My suggestion is to keep an eye on how many empty beer cans dot the landscape of homestead and keep note of all nearby exits.

Football 101:  Inevitably, you’re going to watch copious amounts of football with programming going from early afternoon all the way into the evening.  Don’t be alarmed – the games will end at some point and you are not experiencing feast-induced psychosis.

Black Friday:  The day after Thanksgiving marks the most heated shopping day of the year.  I would suggest that if you are planning on going out for Black Friday: don’t eat too much, or at least give yourself ample nap time well before the “holiday.”  Stay heavy on the proteins, as you’ll need the strength to stiff-arm parents and children alike from the path to your discounted treasures.  Stay heavy on the taters as well, as you’ll need the carbs for energy to stand in line all night and day.  If you’re anything like me and aren’t interested in starting the Christmas season with trample marks on your back, I suggest staying clear of any road that even slightly heads toward a mall between 12 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday.  Remember how nuts we went over Furbys in the ’90s? Do you really want to turn up in a video 10 years from now punching a child over an iPad?

So, have fun everyone.  Eat tons, hang out with the family, and don’t harm people for electronics.  To you and yours, have a good Thanksgiving.

This essay first appeared in Arcadia University’s student newspaper, The Tower. It was
edited by Ashley Pavone, CHC ’11. See this and more area college writing at our collegetown blog.