T-gives is supposed to be an enjoyable holiday, since it's really the only one totally and completely centered around a meal, but your family ruins it by forcing everyone to name something they are “thankful for.” Then, when you are finally allowed to pick up your fork and eat, your family asks for details of your mundane life, wants to know your GPA, and interrogates you on the significant other sitch. Teenagers can only eat dry turkey and talk to almost-family members for so long before they start to die inside, and you’re no exception. Want to be excused from the table early, and at the same time cause a major ruckus that your cousins will remember for years? We’ve got some tactics for leaving the dining room table and seeking the solace of the basement or bathroom.
Start setting up for Christmas. In the middle of dinner, without a word, head down to the basement and come back to the dining room with your fake Christmas tree in tow. When your mom sees you starting to assemble the tree, she won’t dare say a word, since you are actually doing manual labor for once.
Go get Grandma. When your dad mentions how much he misses his momma, who lives in Florida and can't manage the trip up to the Midwest, heroically grab the keys, whip on your coat, and say, “I’m going to get her! Heck, I don't have school tomorrow. What better way to spend my vacation?!” This might be the only time you’re not stopped from taking a solo 1,000 mile road trip.
Scream out “SALE, SALE, SALE!” Announce that everyone MUST go to the major Black Friday sale that Target is having on THANKSGIVING. Yes, this makes no sense, but now that stores start these “can’t-miss deals” on actual holidays, you can convince your slew of aunts that skipping the pumpkin pie might be necessary if they want to be able to afford gifts for the whole family this year. Your dad will be easily swayed when you show him the deal they have on flat-screen TVs and non-stick Calphalon omelet pans. Sure, shopping on Thanksgiving might ruin any sanctity that was once left in your family’s celebration, but at least you’ll all have bags full of crap to show for it. Plus you can escape your family and try out the new sofa chairs they have on display.
Stand up to the Man. If you come from a hippie-dippy, tofurkey-eating family that bemoans capitalism at the dinner table before jamming out to some Kumbaya-like song/chant in front of your fireplace after the big meal, you won’t get away with the excuse of a Black Friday sale. If anything, should you attempt to attend one, your family will start a hunger protest, causing Thanksgiving to last for at least 48 hours longer than it needs to. If this is the case with your granola-loving family, rationally explain to them that you must go sit outside the local Target and protest their money-hungry, holiday-ruining ways. Load up your cousins in your dad’s old VW Bus, bring the guitar and jam out, free from your grandfather’s prying questions.
Plan ahead. Arrange for your best friend to call you ten minutes into the meal. Answer the phone at the table. Your mom will give you a look combining mortification and sheer anger, and demand to know who is calling. “Who is it? Who is calling you NOW?” she will ask. Simply hang up the phone, look her dead in the eyes, and say, “Nature.” Then wince, getting up slowly, and while holding your butt checks together, head up the stairs to the bathroom. Make sure to emit random, sharp whimpers over the course of the next thirty minutes or so. Also make sure to hide your iPad under the bathroom sink before the meal begins, so you have something to peruse.
How do you get some space from your family during the holidays? Is there a tactful way to excuse yourself early, or do you need some quirky excuse to be able to leave? Would your mom kill you if you tried the nature calls trick? We want to know!