1. The More Successful Cousin
Yeah, you remember Cousin Tad. He went to Harvard and is now in some grad program to become a lawyer. He greets you with a firm handshake that reassures you that you’re not doing nearly as well as him. And your mom keeps mentioning that if you ever need any connections out in Seattle, you should really contact Tad. Because Tad is better than you.
2. The Grandma With Dementia
You’re not sure if she knows it’s Thanksgiving because she brought you a “Happy Birthday” card with a check for ten dollars. And it makes you very sad. But she breaks up awkward family tension by humming “Hello, Ma Baby” by Tin Pan Alley and saying something about J.F.K. being a good president. Wait, no that makes everything worse.
3. The Younger Sibling Home From College
Ah, your younger sibling who is in their freshman year of college. When you try to catch up, they can only relay their story about Ben’s awesome kegger where they like, totally did a keg stand for 40 seconds and almost banged this hot senior but then puked all over themselves. And then you turn off your brain for the rest of the story.
4. The Sibling’s Girlfriend/Boyfriend From College
They stand awkwardly by your younger sibling pretending to care about what your family is talking about. Which is, of course, grandma’s descent into insanity. But they keep on smiling even though they are clearly uncomfortable. Your mom says he/she are really helpful because they are the only one who is setting the table even though YOU should be doing it, and that also makes them uncomfortable. And now everyone feels weird.
5. The Overwhelmed Mother Who Says No One Is Helping Her Do Anything
The minute you set you set foot through the door, your mother complains you aren’t helping her prepare anything for Thanksgiving. When you try to explain you just got home all of three seconds ago, she gets all huffy, muttering something about how she’ll just do everything herself like she does every year. You offer a hand which is denied because you don’t even KNOW the family recipe for candied yams.
6. The Crazy Aunt Who Keeps Asking What You’re Doing Now You’re Out Of College
Your aunt is the one who pours herself a glass of wine at noon and watches your mother stress over the “dry” stuffing. She is also constantly asking you about your life now that you aren’t a college student, or, like her son Tad, in grad school. This means it’s time to fabricate some great interview you just had at this one prestigious firm when in reality the last interview you had was at a coffee shop. And by the way, you didn’t get the job
7. The Uncle Who’s In Denial That He’s No Longer 21
He just had a baby and his partying days are waaaay behind him. But he insists that he is the cool uncle. He’s not like all those old phonies at Thanksgiving. He sneaks your younger sibling booze when no one is looking and suggests the family do a round of shots. He also has an affinity for “Who Let The Dogs Out”, only reinforcing the fact that he is, indeed, past his prime.
8. The New Baby Cousin Who Won’t Stop Crying
Why won’t this baby stop crying!? It’s been three hours since your aunt and uncle arrived with this bundle of joy and it’s STILL hysterical. But apparently everyone thinks that’s really cute. Except for you and your grandma who mistakes the baby’s wails as someone vacuuming.
9. The Guy In Your Family You Don’t Remember Being Part Of Your Family
You feel really badly, but who is this guy? He looks vaguely familiar, and you can’t tell if he came here by himself or with your aunt, or what. This guy doesn’t say much, and sits in the corner drinking a beer nervously. When you ask your parents who he is, they say something like, “Oh that’s Uncle Joe’s half son, I think.” Which doesn’t clarify anything, because Uncle Joe isn’t even here.
10. The Ex Who Just Wanted To Drop Off Some Dessert And Tell You How Good They Are Doing
You guys broke up three months ago and now they’re at your front door, post Thanksgiving dinner holding a pie. They claim that they just wanted to drop this off, that your mother would appreciate the dessert. Even though “you didn’t appreciate them, but that’s okay because he/she is doing just so great right now.” You then proceed to have an awkward 10 minute conversation before going to sleep until your next strange Thanksgiving meal. Which is tomorrow at a family friends.