A colossal meal. A football game on TV. A chance to spend hours in a reclined recliner. There are lots of reasons to love Thanksgiving. And there’s one big reason to dread it: unreasonable family members.

Here at Masiello Employment, we can’t make your Uncle Bud less surly or your Aunt Joy more open-minded, but we can inspire you to act and interact with them in more positive ways. In other words, we can help you be thankful for your family with this Thanksgiving Edition of Do’s and Don’t-You-Dares.

Do… Be a Good Guest/Host

Whether you’re going to a relative’s house—or the festivities are happening at your place—it’s important to navigate the day with a positive attitude. If you’re a guest, even at your parent’s house, bring a gift like a new set of pot holders or a beautiful bouquet of flowers, and then ask repeatedly if there’s anything you can do to help (and then do it!); if you’re the host, be welcoming and inclusive, don’t take on too much, do as much prep as possible so you can enjoy the day, and ask your guests to help with everything from passing around appetizers to washing the dessert dishes.

Don’t-You-Dare… Expect Perfection

Though it’s a major holiday, Thanksgiving is really just another day—as such, perfection is impossible. So cut yourself and your family some slack. Expect an argument or two, overcooked green beans, even bad weather, and then be pleasantly surprised by all the elements of your day that go smoothly.

Do… Feel Genuinely Thankful

Sometime during the day, look around and feel genuine thankfulness for the people in your life. You are who you are, in part, because of them. Even though you might fundamentally disagree on absolutely everything (from immigration reform to the best turkey-cooking method) you’re lucky to share a priceless family bond.

Don’t-You-Dare… Talk About Politics

This year, it’s especially vital to avoid political discussions—they’re bound to end up in an epic food fight (or prison sentence). Instead, make a pact before dinner begins that you’re taking politics off the table; if anyone does insist on making a political comment, either ignore their comments or don’t engage.

 Do… Find a Quiet Place

If you need a break, seek solace in a quiet spot, like a sunroom or guest room. Don’t make a big deal about your departure; simply sneak away, regroup, and then rejoin the festivities when you feel like it.

Don’t-You-Dare… Drink Too Much

A glass of good cheer is a quick and easy way to deal with any unpleasantness, but too many glasses of good cheer can make you uncommonly combative or unreasonably angry, exaggerating the unpleasantness. So have a glass or two and then switch over to the kid-friendly punch.

Do… Share Favorite Memories

When things are especially tense, whip out a funny family video, photo album, or story. Reframe the experience to focus not on your differences but on fun highlights of your shared history. If that doesn’t work, plug your smart phone into a speaker, cue up your happiest playlist, and turn the volume way, way up!

Don’t-You-Dare… Be “Touchy”

If you’re currently looking for a job, don’t bristle when family members ask you for an update. Give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they love you and want the best for you; if you feel like they’re trying to embarrass you, say that the search is going well with several promising opportunities, and then change the subject. If they won’t stop asking you about it, say that you appreciate their concern but don’t feel like a holiday is the right time to talk about work.

Do… Accept People for Who They Are (For One Day, Anyway)

Let everyone around you at the Thanksgiving table be who they are, without apologies and without your judgement. You don’t have to agree with them but you can and should love them, just the way they are.

Bonus: Do… Smile and Be Nice

We saved this simple advice for last because it’s so important, and so easy. Putting a smile on your face can actually make you feel happy, and it can do the same for those around you. So smile and be nice, even if you feel you’re the only one taking the high road. At the end of the day, you can only control your behavior, so act in a way you’re proud of.

We’re thankful for all of you and we wish you all the happiest Thanksgiving! Once dinner has digested, and you’re ready to get back to work, remember that Masiello Employment will help you find that perfect job. Our recruiting team is here for a free consultation; just give us a call.