Thanksgiving Ground Rules

Greetings McLendons and extended kin! We’re looking forward to hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year and we’re soooo excited to see all y’all! It should be a delicious feast, especially since Cousin Dana has agreed to make her famous green bean casserole!

However, the past year has been a difficult time for America, and it’s exacerbated painful and long-simmering divisions within our own family. Therefore, in the interests of keeping the peace, we thought we’d set some ground rules ahead of time.

First off, in order to avoid repeating last year’s unpleasantness, we ask you to avoid the following topics at the dinner table: politics, sports, comedy, weather, religion, animals, children, women, human reproduction, air travel, the Boy Scouts, celebrities, the existence of LGBTQ people (sorry, Beth!), golf, any branch of science or the humanities and any historical event more recent than 500 years ago.

(NOTE: This ban includes all slogan T-shirts, hats and accessories. As a precaution, we’ll be confiscating Jenna’s “White Male Tears” coffee mug for the weekend.)
I know that seems like a lot of no-nos, but we just can’t risk making Nana cry again.

Instead, here are a few nice conversation starters: Aunt Fran’s new hairdo, Gwen’s successful Lasik surgery, Steve Junior’s upcoming trumpet recital, in-depth descriptions of dinner, my new job hauling septic waste after being laid off by the school district (due to budget cuts which I promise not to talk about, haha).

A number of you have contacted me privately asking to be seated at the Kids’ Table, saying it’s “more fun” and “less stressful” there. Because of the volume of requests, we won’t be able to accommodate them and everyone over 18 will be expected to sit at the Grown-Ups’ Table. Except for Uncle Thad (due to his nervous condition).

Finally, a slight change to our longstanding tradition of going around the table and having everyone say what they’re thankful for. This year we ask that you email your thanks in advance so that a bipartisan panel composed of Jenna and Big Steve can review them and ensure they’re suitable for public airing.

If we can all agree to these simple guidelines it should be a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the company of loved ones in a warm, welcoming environment. In these trying times, it’s crucial to know that we’re here for each other through life’s ups and downs—or at least the ones we agree on. Isn’t that what family is for?