Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Etiquette Guide for the Modern Holiday Mooch

Thanksgiving ranks high on the Shannon apathy-meter. It's not that I'm hostile to the concept, or that I have anything against turkeys or gratitude. It's that if I cared any less, I'd slip into a coma. And die. And then what would y'all do? Oh, right, you'd assume I was on hiatus again. And then you might have a tasty sandwich.

Put your sandwiches down, and let's get back to me. When you're a hearty puree of Eastern Cherokee, Welsh Aussie, and Hessian mercenary, the Pilgrims aren't too big a deal. My family celebrates the holiday by ignoring one another from our opposite coasts and multiple nations...except for the occasional inappropriate text message exchange.

Me: Happy Thanksgiving. Now go celebrate the annihilation of our ancestors!

Skye: Nothing says yay genocide like turkey!

From there, I usually either get drunk and play Grand Theft Auto, or I get adopted for the day. I can't remember the last time I spent Thanksgiving with a blood relative.

Over the years, I've become something of an expert at spending holidays with other people's families. Here's the summation of all my wisdom. I like to call it the Etiquette Guide for the Modern Holiday Mooch:

DO: Bring booze. I usually bring a bottle of wine, and maybe a specialty beer like Chimay. If your hosts are vehement nondrinkers, bring a generously-sized, yet discreet, flask. You know, just in case things get gnarly and you're reduced to hiding under a table and taking a few nips while you play with the dog's favorite bouncy-ball.

DON'T: Wear boots if there's any chance your hosts will ask you to remove your shoes at the door. It is impossible to look dignified while simultaneously shaking hands, avoiding the hyperactive dog, and shimmying your way out of a pair of three-inch knee-high boots. However, if you face-plant, most people are nice enough to find it endearing.

DO: Bring a gift for the hostess. A batch of fudge in a festive drugstore tin is easy and cheap (10-oz bag Ghirardelli semisweet chocolate chips, can of sweetened condensed milk, melted together in a saucepan over low heat, stir in a tablespoon of vanilla, pour it all into a 9 by 9 pan, chill overnight, chop it up, and you're done).

DON'T: Get visibly drunk. You want to spend the day with a faint glow, not a full-on radioactive liver. Pacing, my dear, pacing!

DO: Offer to help. Bonus points: Time your offers so cleverly that you, oops, never quite get that chance to help.

DON'T: Mediate family disputes, even when asked. ESPECIALLY not when asked. As the referee in more than one onion riot, I can vouch that there are no winners. There are only people with onion bits in their nostrils.

DO: Try a taste of everything, even if it's not necessarily what you'd normally eat. No one likes a picky eater. However, if you have allergies, discreetly ask the cook if any of your Dreaded Ingredients are there - if they are, good-naturedly eat something else.

DON'T: Play fetch with a toddler. Apparently, this insults their innate personhood. (Children aren't people, but I digress.)

DO: Find and befriend the Drunk Uncle. This person may actually be a Mormon teetotaler fourth cousin, but he'll still be the guy who finds everything amusing and wants a heckling buddy for the day.

DON'T: Engage in political or religious debates, even when pressed. Aside from being tacky to discuss either at the dinner table, it's bad for the digestion.

DO: Take off a whole bunch of time off from blogging and expect your readers to squeal like Japanese schoolgirls upon your return. I'm back, bitches.


Lemmonex said...


I have missed you so.

The drunk uncle is always the best bet...or the drunk cousin ie me.

Shannon said...

Lemmonex, you will always be my drunk cousin.

Hammer said...


LiLu said...

I missed you, lady. Good to have you back.

I also missed my Drunk Uncle this Thanksgiving. There's always Christmas!

Shannon said...

Hammer - And I missed the truck. And I may have even missed you.

LiLu - Really, what's more festive than a drunk uncle at Christmas?

Anonymous said...

The blogosphere wasn't the same without ya'. Glad you're back.

I don't understand the people who ask guests to remove shoes. If it is a religious thing sure - but if you just want to keep your carpets clean, I just want to pull out my automatic smacking machine.

Doug said...

Yay! I squealed in the most manly way possible.

Instead of meeting the drunk uncle, can I just BE the drunk uncle? ;)

Shannon said...

Refugee - I think it was more a case of a small child who tends to roll about on the floor. Which I understand.

Doug - I bet your squeal was so manly you sprouted an extra chest hair.

Zipcode said...

Glad you are back - could you hear my squeal all the way in Southwest?

Anonymous said...

I was just thiking today, "I ought to finally email DSJ and tell her I have missed her funny." and here you are! Yet, all I remember is you said something about fudge!

Shannon said...

Zip - I could, but I thought it was just the roar of 395.

Charlotte- I think the brain switches off at the mention of Ghirardelli chips. Survival mechanism.

Ellie said...

Yay- glad you are back. Man, my blog readin was a lot less fun without your hearty two-cents.

Shannon said...

Ellie, thanks! MAybe I'll even work my way up to a nickel.

bh said...

Ok. I'm squealing like a Japenese school girl. So glad your back.

freckledk said...

I'm late to the party, as usual. Welcome back!

And you sound like my kind of guest. Fudge and Chimay? What are you doing next year?

Shannon said...

BH - I think I heard you squeal.

FreckledK - I'm bringing Chimay-scented fudge to your house.

Tina said...

I missed you - I checked back often - I'm sure your stats can show you my stalker like behavior. and then - just when I go on vacation and can't link in multiple times a day - your back!!! I should go away more often.