Things That Make You Blush: Guess Who’s Coming to Thanksgiving Dinner?

Holidays can become a can of worms. The first Thanksgiving can of worms was opened, presumably (depending on your history book), by the Pilgrims and the Native Americans in Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts. Can you imagine what that was like? These two groups were potentially feasting on wild turkey, drinking corn liquor, and smoking peace pipes filled with “wacky tobacky.” This fest blended peoples of varying languages, skin color, hair color, dress, religion, and customs – just like dating in America appears today. So, given the likelihood of this cultural diversity, what will your Thanksgiving look like this year? Will everyone sitting around the dinner table hold hands and bow their head in prayer, reciting the Moravian blessing, or will the prayer be just the beginning of your own Thanksgiving can of worms and the stress that may follow? If you plan on introducing a new love interest to your family, or maybe your parents, this Thanksgiving, here is some food for thought for that feast.

The majority of our community probably practices a Christian faith, whether Protestant or Catholic, while other minority groups may practice faiths like Buddhism, Hinduism, or the Jewish or Muslim faiths. This may make the Thanksgiving blessing a bit tricky if you or another family member will be bringing home a new, or what your family might consider “different,” guest to dinner. So, if religious differences present challenges this Thanksgiving, then why not try a non-denominational meditation or poem, or have each guest share what they are thankful for this holiday? And everyone will praise “their” God that Uncle Bob did not bring his usual quail breasts, accidentally loaded with buckshot he forgot to remove before baking.

We also have a racially diverse community. You may remember the 1967 movie, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” with Sidney Poitier, which portrays a free-thinking white woman who becomes engaged to a black doctor, who then takes him and his parents to meet her parents.   This movie is still pertinent today, as our country struggles with accepting differences in race, religion, politics, sexual preferences, and on and on. To relieve any uncomfortable surprises, a heads-up to the hosts (typically mom or dad) could allow them to ask questions and share reservations about the new and different “someone” coming to dinner.   For instance, if your new someone happens to be Jewish or Muslim, they do not eat pork. So Little Richard’s BBQ might not be a great main course for Thanksgiving. This could be embarrassing if all your guest can eat is water and bread.

If you make it through the can of worms at dinner, then you may be lucky enough to open the next can of worms related to sleeping arrangements over the holidays (if you and your guest are from out of town). If you and your new fella find yourselves spending the night(s) at a family member’s house, then the safest option would probably be to keep separate sleeping arrangements. One of you can sleep with the family dog, who would love some company anyway. If sleeping together is acceptable to all concerned, then try to keep the sound effects to a low purr versus a loud roar that wakes half-deaf Uncle Bob.

Thanksgiving is a special time of the year to acknowledge blessings. We hope whomever you invite to Thanksgiving dinner adds blessings to your life and to your holidays. And remember that it is never a good idea to talk about religion or politics with family, no matter who is at the Thanksgiving dinner table!