The 5 People You Meet at Thanksgiving (Or Christmas) (Or Any Holiday Family Gathering)

Gathering around the Thanksgiving table is a time of food, family, and intense judgement. As we recover from Thanksgiving and gear up for the holiday season now among us, here’s a guide to the 5 People You Meet at Holiday Gatherings. (Not that I know any of these fine folks or anything.)


  1. The Anti-Socialite A well-manicured hand gripping an iPhone or BlackBerry is the easiest way to identify The Anti-Socialite. Can be spotted texting under the table while the rest of the family says grace. Frequently updates Facebook with statuses ranging from the consistency of the cranberry sauce to quoting Uncle Bob’s tall tales. Not to be confused with The Escapist (see number 5), this guest is content with her situation. (She has nowhere else to be because her world exists primarily online.)
  2. The Enlightened One You can spot this skinny-jeaned, bespectacled Thanksgiving attendee a mile away. This character can be found reading a Thoreau anthology as the rest of the family flips through door-buster ads, musing “Only in America, do you fall into the consumerist trap that is Black Friday on the very holiday about being thankful. Of course, the only reason this holiday exists is to celebrate the destruction of native cultures.” This person’s resume usually includes a brief stint at a coffee shop. Interests include obscure music and not having a TV.
  3. The Talking Head A frequent viewer of FOX News, this politico enjoys delving into debate, down to the finer points of spiral-cut vs. bone-in ham. Arguments may make other attendees feel uncomfortable, but rants typically last no longer than the 30-second soundbite he or she recently saw on cable news. Loves to play “Gotcha!” by bringing up obscure social security laws. Known to get into reoccurring dust-ups and disputes with The Enlightened One.
  4. The Questioneer Well-intentioned yet often-intrusive, this curious character makes the Spanish Inquisition look like child’s play. Playing Nancy Drew, she will likely utilize prying phrases such as, “When are you guys having kids?“, “Ya ever gonna put a ring on that finger?” and “What are your plans with your art degree?” The Questioneer usually takes a maternal form. See also: snoop, nag, meddler.
  5. The Escapist Muttering grumpy complaints, you will surely find this character lurking in the doorways. Last to sit down to dinner and first to leave, he’s the disinterested in-law that can’t wait to gobble his turkey and hit the road. Generally found zoning out in front of the game, hobbies include avoiding eye contact and finding excuses to run to the store. Known avoider of The Enlightened One, The Talking Head, and The Questioneer. Tolerates the The Anti-Socialite.

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