1. Travel traffic
Along with Fridays during summer and around Christmas, the days surrounding Thanksgiving are some of the busiest travel days of the year. Whether you’re driving or flying budget plenty of extra travel time and be prepared to exercise your patience.
2. Non-stop Christmas music
Several radio stations have already begun playing holiday music. Feel free to indulge in a few of your favorites, but tune out when they start to grate on you. You don’t want to be sick of Christmas music before December even starts.
3. Questions about your future
Spending time with relatives inevitably brings questions like “What are you going to do after you graduate? Why are you majoring in that? Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend/engagement ring yet?” Try deflecting the question with humor, and then immediately following up with a question about their life.
4. The Turkey Dump
Speaking of relationships, according to an analysis of Facebook posts, Thanksgiving is one of the most popular breakup times of the year, especially for college freshman. The thinking is that if you dump someone around Christmas, New Year’s, or Valentine’s Day, you’re a jerk, and facing being stuck in a relationship for three months, some would rather call it quits now.
5. Talking politics
Do I even need to explain this one? We just finished one of the most divisive presidential elections in recent American history. While there is still much to be discussed, the Thanksgiving dinner table is not the place for it.
6. Stomach aches
The rarity of a meal only had once a year tends to make everyone want to eat as much as they can. But while a food coma will help you pass the rest of the day in relaxed bliss, going to far and ending up with a stomach ache will make the following hours miserable. So remember to pace yourself.
7. A single TV
There are people who look forward to watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and there are people who look forward to watching football. There are probably people who look forward to watching neither, but I don’t know anyone who looks forward to watching both. Hope wherever you’re spending Thanksgiving has two TVs, because watching on your phone or laptop could get you labeled “anti-social.”
8. Forgetting about finals
When we get back from Thanksgiving break, there’s one full week of school left, and the final papers are going to begin rolling in. Don’t freak out! Use your “break” to get a head start on studying for exams.
9. Black Friday crowds
The Friday following Thanksgiving is one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Checkout counters, dressing rooms and mall Starbucks everywhere will have lines long enough to rival Disneyland. Although most stores have sales going on, especially on appliances and electronics, I’m not sure they’re worth facing the crowds.
If you do decide to brave the Black Friday chaos, or perhaps stick to Cyber Monday, be careful of how much you’re spending and what you’re spending it on. With Christmas right around the corner, many of us need to be focusing on gifts for friends and family. Think before you #TreatYoSelf.
+1 Thing not to avoid: Being Thankful
Although the way we traditionally frame the story of the first Thanksgiving is shrouded in the problematic treatment of Native Americans, the point of the holiday is to give thanks for the things in our life we usually take for granted. Even during this crazy year, we all have things to be thankful for, whether it’s friends and family who care about us, the opportunity to earn a higher education, or professors who drop the lowest quiz score.