Feature

Surviving Thanksgiving Break
By Edna Htet and Emma Sargent

In less than a week, Thanksgiving break will be upon us. Some will go home to their warm beds of familiarity—some will visit friends and family—and some will stay in the comforts of Willamette. Regardless of location, with great breaks comes great responsibility for dealing with boredom, inquisitions and awkward social interactions. Here are a few tips to survive your Thanksgiving break.

Dorm Dwellers:
Despite the short break that is Thanksgiving, you will inevitably become bored. Whether you’re procrastinating on finals and assignments due after break, or trying to hibernate and catch up on sleep, there are things to distract you from the bottomless pit that is mind-numbing boredom.

1. A Very Netflix Thanksgiving
“Free Birds” is an animated film about two turkeys time traveling in order to remove their species from the menu. If that doesn’t put you in the mood for Thanksgiving mood, I don’t know what will. There is also an array of Christmas movies (including Lifetime Originals!) on Netflix, and we all know Christmas comes right after Thanksgiving, so might as well get an early start.

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2. Explore Salem
Food services at Willamette (Goudy Commons, Kaneko Cafe and Cat Cavern) will be closed from Nov. 26 after lunch and won’t reopen until Dec. 1 for breakfast. Students will have to survive without the glory of three square meals made for them, complete with the live entertainment that is other students. However, this is a great opportunity to explore Salem through food. Great, affordable eateries around Salem within walking distance include Love Love Teriyaki, Thai Orchid, Sassy Onion, Oregon Crêpe Cafe and Crema Coffee Brewtique. So get out there and find something good to eat!

3. Craft
Despite popular opinion, hand turkeys are not only for children. Find some craft paper and go crazy. Stick them on friends’ doors, your roommate’s desk, across the windows, across the walls. It’s also never too early to start putting up winter decorations. There can never be too many snowflake cutouts.

4. Friendsgiving
Safeway is only a block away, and if you and your friends are staying at school, why not have a Friendsgiving? Get some friends together and make a feast. It doesn’t have to be a full-blown turkey dinner and you don’t have to be Gordon Ramsay to have a good meal. Pizza? Warm cookies and milk? Pumpkin Pie? Binge-watching movies? Yes, please!

5. Skype
We’ve all been avoiding that dreaded Skype or FaceTime date our Mom has been wanting to set up with us, but go ahead and cave in this time. Five minutes of “Can you see me, honey?” shouldn’t kill you and will certainly brighten your family’s day.

6. Dad Jokes (Thanksgiving Edition)
If your roommate or friends are going home, they’re going to miss their family when they return to school. What better way to make them feel less homesick than telling a few classic dad jokes? Here are a few Thanksgiving themed examples to get you started.

Q: What is the key to a great Thanksgiving dinner?

A: A turKEY.

Q: What do you wear to a Thanksgiving dinner?

A: A harVEST.

7. Sleep
Honestly, isn’t this all we need? Time to catch up on some serious sleep. Prepare to say hello to your lovely sheets. May this week eradicate the widespread deprivation.

Awkward Family Moments:
After getting a taste of living life somewhat independently, it’s a strange feeling to go back home. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, but it also makes for, at the very least, some awkward dinner conversations. So prepare yourself for the worst and hope your room hasn’t been turned in to a home gym yet.

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1. Stuck In The Annex
You’re in college, but it still doesn’t warrant you a spot at the adult table. So you’re stuck with the paper plates and plastic utensils, complete with cartoon turkeys and autumn leaves. If I throw a fit, does it make me still a child?

Try throwing a piece of pie at the adults to get their attention.

2. My Lovelife?
Every relative asks you about your relationship status.

Yes, I’m still single. Yes, it’s normal. And if I were in a relationship, I would never tell you, so please drop it.

Ask them about their romantic struggles and see how it goes.

3. Overeating.
Your meal plan fed you in school, yes. Hence, the freshman 15. However, there’s nothing like home cooking, especially when you’ve been so removed from the perfect feast. It’s OK to overeat for Thanksgiving—you’re going into finals hibernation soon anyway.

4. When Political Views Don’t Align
After taking that intro to politics class, you have formed your own opinions, and have written a research paper that argues for said perspective. Now, your Uncle Al is negating your thesis and dinner turns into debate class. Watch out for that cleaver and accept that you will probably never convince your uncle.

5. Drunk Relatives
When every adult in your family got a bit tipsy at one time or another over the holidays, you always thought it was weird. Now you have college friends to compare them to, and it makes it just a little bit more bearable. Make sure you bring your camera.

6. Your Future
Inevitably, some relative twice removed will ask you, “So, what are you doing with the rest of your life?” Chances are you don’t know, and even if you do, you probably don’t want their commentary on your plans. So try faking a coughing spell when the dreaded question comes up, in the hopes that when you’re done, they will have moved onto their next victim.

7. Brainwashed Childhood
When a little cousin (or any young family member) starts giving a speech on what they learned in school about Thanksgiving, the joy of pilgrims and feasts with Native Americans, it’s time to interject.

Honey, the pilgrims slaughtered a lot of Native Americans. Also, Columbus didn’t “discover” America—he invaded and colonized it.

mhtet@willamette.edu
esargent@willamette.edu