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The World's Worst Thanksgiving, As Told By Advice Columns

Thanksgiving is one of the most fertile — and disturbing — times of year for advice columns. Using only questions from said columns, we've compiled a tale of the Thanksgiving from Hell.

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Clashing dress codes immediately cause drama.


"My wife’s people dress to the nines. The men wear ties and the women wear dresses. But my siblings’ families turn up like slobs, some in T-shirts and sweat pants. The disparity makes me uncomfortable." Social Qs

Aunt Stacy insists on eating early so she can go Black Friday shopping.

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"My sister-in-law, who comes to our place for Thanksgiving, has asked if we can push our dinner from 6 p.m. to 4 p.m. to accommodate her desire to shop the Black Friday sales, which are starting on Thanksgiving evening in some of the big-box stores." Social Qs

The table is covered in cat hair.


"A family member has six cats and wants to have the Thanksgiving meal at her house. Every time I eat there, I find cat hair on the table, on the plates and in the food. I don’t want to cause hard feelings, but how do I handle this? I’m allergic to cats." Dear Abby

A secret sister shows up, scandalizing everyone.

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"My father had an affair on the side many years ago, and I found out about it. The affair had resulted in the birth of my half sister, Annie. Dad has successfully kept Annie a secret for 25 years. [...] Annie just told me that she would like to be invited to Thanksgiving." Dear Prudence


The whole family fights over politics.

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"Even though the election is over, some of my closest friends and relatives, who will be joining us, are still carping about the candidates and political parties in really spiteful ways." Social Qs

"I am recently married, and will be spending Thanksgiving with my new in-laws. They are a very, ultra conservative group and dislike our president. I, however, voted for him, and have tried to stay away from the political banter. My sister-in-law recently sent my husband a message asking if I was a 'closet' Obama supporter." Dear Prudence

And religion.

Clayton Smalley / Via

"my brother-in-law-to-be suffers from a particularly pigheaded brand of conservative Christianity. To put it politely, he is an outspoken member of the religious right. [...] Everyone in my family goes to church, but he’s the only one who brings his religious politics home to the dinner table, and his views are very extreme." Dear Coquette

In the middle of dinner, there's a wedding, which also makes people angry.

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"My boyfriend and I got engaged just over a week ago. Neither of us wants a traditional wedding, so we decided to get married over this Thanksgiving with just our families and a few very close friends in my hometown. [...] However, some of my friends are upset that they won't be at the actual ceremony, including a few very close friends who simply can't make it into town on such short notice." Dear Prudence

Grandpa demands that you get the newspaper for him during dessert.


"When my second child was born, my father-in-law and his wife came to 'help' [...] while [my husband] was juggling breakfast, two kids, and a dog, his dad asked him to go get the newspaper because he didn't want to get his socks dirty. Did I mention they are coming for Thanksgiving next week?" Carolyn Hax

Uncle Ted is weirdly serious about post-dinner cards.


"We will be going to my husband’s grandparents’ house to spend Thanksgiving with his parents, grandparents, and extended family. After every meal, the family engages in card games. I'm terrible at cards, but normally I oblige. I wouldn't have an issue playing even though I'm terrible, but one of my husband’s uncles is very competitive and will complain if we are on a team together and will ask throughout the game, 'Why did you do that?!'" Dear Prudence

As they leave, the guests steal all the leftovers.


"One guest told my sister in advance that she was going to take some leftovers for an ill friend, brought her own containers in which to put the leftovers and took some for herself, too."

"When the dinner was over, a neighbor she had invited started carving the leftover bird. [...] he proceeded to carve away on the bird, filling the entire plate with just turkey meat. It was a large bird, 20 to 22 pounds. When the plate could hold no more turkey, he quit carving and took the plate home with him."

"I made more than enough soup for the 18 people who were invited. After the dinner, I noticed that the hostess put the leftover soup into a container for her own use." Miss Manners