A little Thanksgiving advice

Vanessa Pralle

Thanksgiving is always an exciting time of the year for college students alike. It marks the first major holiday milestone of the season, you’re given free range to pig out, and unlike Christmas there’s no gift purchasing/receiving anxiety. You’re scot-free. Or so you think. This year, I asked a few seasoned veterans (a.k.a seniors) about what they’ve learned from past Thanksgiving experiences so as to help you avoid social and familial faux pas this year:Family:With family members, especially those estranged relatives (think Al Pacino in “The Scent of a Woman”), it can be helpful to carve your name, what school you attend, and your major into the raw turkey. That way, once the bird has been basted, cooked and ready for consumption, you will no longer be asked to repeat yourself to Aunt Gilda, Third Cousin Todd and Todd’s hearing impaired girlfriend because your answers are clearly marked on the bird, as to avoid all confusion. In addition, you’ll still be required to sit at the kids’ table, despite the leaps and bounds in maturity, sophistication and general knowledge you’ve acquired over the past few months. So, don’t entertain any great expectations of a seat reserved at the adults’ table with your name on it. It’ll never happen.Lastly, it is advised that announcing any newfound sexual preferences should occur after, not before, dinner as to avoid mass indigestion. This peril of wisdom also applies to using caution when showing family members personal pictures. Remember, edit, censor and destroy. Your parents have no desire to see what the price of a 2006 BMW 3 series (Sedan 325xi to be precise) is really being spent on.Food:It is socially acceptable to use Halloween pumpkins for pie, but not ok to use jack-o-lanterns, since most have begun deteriorating. Cranberry sauce out of a can is debatable, but it is important to realize that the best things in life are home grown. Gravy tastes good on everything, so if you’re avoiding consumption of sweet potatoes with gooey little marshmallows on top, just lather some gravy on. Delicious.Be mindful of friends and family who have gained a bit of weight, even if you haven’t. Plus, the freshmen 15 aren’t restricted to just school, and it would be most embarrassing for it to occur due to a gluttonous Thanksgiving dinner. It can prove especially frustrating if you anticipated weight gain from empty beer calories or jungle-juice laced with grain alcohol served by frat boys to unsuspecting freshmen girls.In regards to dessert, my roommate Kate recommends tasting every piece of every kind of pie on the table. Speaking of pie, it is advisable to not pull an “American Pie” on the dessert platter, but the timeless nut cracker is recommended.Most importantly, offer to take back to school all leftovers as so to avoid SPIT food as long as possible. That way, you’ll appear extra helpful and health-conscious. It is in the midst of parental praises that one should strategically interject a need for money. Smile.Friends:Seeing one’s high school friends again after a three-month hiatus can prove both exciting and stressful. Just as a general note, it is acceptable to embellish the great time you’ve been having at Villanova, particularly to the friends who opted for Georgetown or B.C. Don’t mention how your roommate frequently urinates on your clothing or the required crappy core classes. Likewise, try not to feel jealous when friends rave about their school, and when you do feel a twinge of envy refer to the previous statement.Guys, playing the “I’m a college man” line to the high school girls, is a sure way to score, especially if you’ve filled out a bit/grown facial hair/adopted a new accent.Festivities:Thanksgiving festivities are a major part of the day, from making turkey hands (you’re never too old!) to watching the 79th Macy’s Day Parade in New York City. Here is a suggested itinerary for the day:(Night before) Just remember that wild turkeys may scamper across the lawn, but be sure it’s not because you drank too much of it on Thanksgiving eve. You’ll hate yourself the following day.(approx. 9-11 a.m.)Wake-up. Take a brief run/force yourself to partake in a form of exercise. You’ll thank yourself later. Shower. Get dressed. If you choose to dress up as a pilgrim, remove all cameras from the house. Pictures will be used as blackmail for years to come. Beware. (approx. 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.)Boys, help your mother in the kitchen as she slaves away in the inferno baking heat. Change into a pair of sweatpants in anticipation of the meal. Remember, the football players will be wearing spandex so you don’t have to. If your family is highly spirited, do a historical reenactment of the first Thanksgiving, just minus the intentional spreading of smallpox to Native Americans and the decimation of their entire culture in 1621. Partake in the singing of a random Thanksgiving song about Alice, her husband Ray, Fasha the dog and garbage. Lyrics can be found at http://www.arlo.net/lyrics/alices.shtml(approx. 4 p.m. onwards)Dinner is ready! Eating early is always advised so as to ensure a long nap can be taken after dinner before going out at night. Even if you’ve recently turned 21, it is not appropriate to take body shots off of grandma. Furthermore, if your otherwise reserved uncle begins bellowing the lyrics to “We all live in a yellow submarine,” it’s time to cork the wine.Lastly, it is advisable that you do not drive long distances on Thanksgiving, for it is the worst, most congested traveling day in America. Have a wonderful, safe and happy Thanksgiving!