How To Survive Thanksgiving With Your Italian Family

Wild Turkeys roaming - photo courtesy of

Around the same time last year, I offered some no-brainer tips on how to get along with everyone on Thanksgiving.  The tips emanated from the fact that even if you love most of your Italian family members there comes a point during the holiday season when you’d like to get Uncle Pasquale in a headlock and give him a good noogie.

Personally, I enjoy hanging out with the extended family but come New Year’s Day I’m ready to spend a few weeks in isolation in an undisclosed New England cabin (and, yes,  I have preached on the virtues of keeping your family close!).  So, without further ado here are 4 tips on how to get along with your dinner companions on Thanksgiving Day:

  1. Be nice. Getting along with people is not rocket science.  If you’re coming across as cold, snobby, and unwilling to engage in a conversation, you’ll most likely be sitting by yourself watching some mediocre football game.  Try extra hard and smile, comb your hair, and engage people in conversation.
  2. Have a glass of wine.  I’m not advocating funneling a bottle of Baralo but grab a glass of wine when you arrive and it will help you engage people in conversation and just make you feel relaxed.
  3. Dress nice.  Everyone likes being around people who look good, so keep your jeans and the 30 year old wool sweater in the closet and put on a nice pair of pants and dress shirt.  It also tells the Thanksgiving Day crowd that you acknowledge the holiday and are ready to celebrate or give thanks (if that’s your thing)!
  4. Bring something to dinner.  Not only will your host appreciate a nice bottle of wine, a fruit platter, or a home made pie, but, again, the gesture will signal to the dinner table that you are excited about the holiday and ready to have a good time.
If you hate Thanksgiving then I can’t help you, but it tends to be once of the nicer holidays of the season so enjoy and Happy Turkey Day!


  1. Picture 2 of this entry

    Great tips, Vin. Particularly the one about leaving jeans and sweater in the closet when dressing up for Thanksgiving. Looks like you should probably take down that picture of me cutting the turkey since it contradicts what you said. lol

  2. Ha, good point! Little does my audience know that you changed into a three piece suit after you carved the turkey! We’ll miss you tomorrow.

  3. Great advice and have a wonderful holiday. We’re off this afternoon. Actually heading towards New England so the cabin will be close at hand if the going gets too tough… lol!

  4. Sound advice! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy your family and friends.

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