Thanksgiving Dinner Tips to Impress the Unimpressionable

It’s that time of year again! Yes, it’s Thanksgiving. Yet another excuse for American’s to spend an entire day indulging in shameless gluttony while watching a TBS Movie Marathon. But really, Thanksgiving is more than a day to gorge like a sumo wrestler (step away from the stuffing!). It is a time of personal reflection—to remember each and every reason one has to feel thankful. It is a special time when family members and close friends come together and count their many blessings over a festive feast fit for kings. For the lucky ones who are not alone and sulking this holiday season (keep your heads up single studs), your girlfriend may extend an invitation for you to attend Thanksgiving dinner with her fam. No biggie for a charming lad such as yourself, right? Ah, but perhaps it will be your first time meeting her family which means pressure’s on to make a good first impression. No, let’s aim higher. After all, you are an extraordinary gentleman. You strive to make a great, wait no… groundbreaking, will-go-down-in-history as one of the all-time best first impressions. No sweat. Get your best fall sweater out (solid gray or olive green is a safe bet), freshly pressed khakis, and unscathed oxfords. And of course, don’t forget to bring your best orbit smile. It’s go time!

Tip 1: Dress to impress. Wear something worthy of such an occasion. Think savvy and sophisticated. An outfit that is weather appropriate is first on the checklist. No jeans and flip-flops. Honestly, what kind of impression would you make as a walking contradiction? Think J. Crew not Abercrombie and Fitch. Along with that, think clean, wrinkle-free and form fitting.  Not too much and not too little. So yes leave the muscle tees at home Ricky Martin. You can be livin’ la vida loca all you want when Thanksgiving is over.

Tip 2: Give a gift. Bring something. Anything. Yes, I know. Bringing yourself should be plenty enough but don’t be stingy. You’re about to indulge on a five-course meal. The least you can bring is a pumpkin pie. Too cliché? Or Maybe you just man up and bring some pretty...(ahem) I mean nice flowers for the table. Even a simple thank-you card makes a lasting impression. Be a gracious guest and give just a little.

Tip 3: Mind your manners. Always remember to say please and thank-you (C’mon this is grade school stuff).  And introduce yourself to people you do not know. Yes this includes the distant relatives from Montana. Maybe mountains and grizzly bears don’t tickle your fancy but keep an open mind and you’ll acquire knowledge from congenial conversations that might inspire a future road trip to the mountainside.

Tip 4: Lend a hand. Offer to help before and after dinner. Ask the hosts if they need help with anything. Even if that means you braving the kitchen. Maybe the only meal you can “cook” is Ramen and Hamburger Helper but I’m confident that you can handle chopping veggies or setting the table. Just remember, forks on the left and knives and spoons on the right.

Tip 5: Eat, Pray, Love. Eat what is served. Pray it won’t cause you to hurl(try to avoid the Greg Focker approach). And love the Thanksgiving meal like you love your fantasy football league (no matter how much they suck). Be gracious for the time and effort that was put into the feast set before you. Eat up!

Tip 6: Play nice with the kiddies. So maybe the munchkins at this dinner are midget-sized monsters in disguise. And maybe they become increasingly hyperactive as they squeal in excitement singing karaoke to every overplayed radio hit by J. Beibz… “And I'm like baby, baby, baby oh…” So you’re immune to Beiber Fever but still, be calm and courteous. Smile, laugh and comment on how energetic (which really is a nice way of saying annoying) and how vocally gifted they are.

Tip 7: Lay off the liquor. Seems obvious enough to not be a complete lush at a family dinner but you’d be surprised. Sure having a glass of wine can calm your nerves and give you that liquid courage you need to keep your social charm. However, there IS too much of a good thing. One glass quickly turns into five and before you know it, you’re bragging to Grandma Mabel about the historic bangers you and your former frat buddies used to throw down at the Kappa Tappa Kegga house. Loose lips sink ships. That extra glass Carbernet Sauvignon may result in irreparable damage. Limit yourself Mel Gibson. Don’t allow your mouth to become a lethal weapon.

Tip 8: Unlatch from your lady. This means do not stay glued to your girlfriend’s side the entire evening. The relatives will call Stage 25 Clinger and will be turned off by your stranded puppy dog demeanor. Give your girl time to visit with her family and talk you up without you awkwardly stuck to her side. Be social. Use this time to forge bonds with her family too. It’ll show that you are a self-reliant, confident, and extraordinary lad who can hold his own.

Tip 9: Allow grandma to be your wingman. Make friends with grandma. If she thinks you’re an angel, it is very likely everyone else will agree. And if they don’t, she will convince everyone just the same.

Tip 10: Give thanks. This may seem redundant of Tip #3 but this is perhaps the most important and simple of all tips listed. After all this celebrated holiday is called Thanksgiving so give thanks aloud today — when you arrive and when you leave. Give thanks to the hosts and your great girlfriend who invited you to meet the most extraordinary people in her life. Besides you, of course.

There it is gents! Ten simple tips to keep your girlfriend’s family (and girlfriend) impressed at Thanksgiving dinner. Don’t stress the situation and approach the dinner invitation with an open and positive mind.  You ARE an extraordinary gentleman. Your girlfriend would not have invited you to dine with her family (future in-laws possibly... too soon?) in the first place on such a special occasion if she didn’t think you could sweep them off their feet as you did with her. Wishing you all the best from the staff here at SEEG. And THANK YOU!