How to: Thanksgiving

Turkey day tribulations

Sam Johnson

More stories from Sam Johnson

The Tator
December 13, 2022

I know it’s the season of giving, but I’m broke.

Thanksgiving, one of the weirdest holidays around. Drinking and eating to celebrate a fictional event where other people drank and ate hundreds of years ago.

This week I’m going to talk you through the friends, family, food and frustrations that you’ll encounter this Thanksgiving.


One of the more fun aspects of Thanksgiving is seeing all your old friends from home. There are a few different ways to pass time with your hometown pals.

You can relive your old high school days by driving around aimlessly, hitting your go-to drive-through or hanging out in the best basement your friend group has to offer. 

Or you can enjoy some more adult fun by spending money you don’t have at a nice restaurant or holding a “Friendsgiving,” so you and your friends can celebrate your bad cooking and newfound sophistication and prestige as college students.

If you and your friends are 21, maybe you can finally hit the hometown bars you’ve been driving by all your lives and find out that they’re a lot less cool than they always seemed.

Whatever you decide to do, you and your friends will have a great time talking about how much you missed each other and how annoyed you are about the prospect of spending an entire day hanging out with your families.


The thing everyone’s most thankful for is family. The best way to show that is by spending way too much time together, inevitably arguing with each other and swearing you’ll never spend time together again.

If you’re lucky and Thanksgiving is a small-scale holiday at your house, you might have a shot at a pleasant day.

If Thanksgiving for you means stuffing everyone you’ve ever met that shares genes with you into a house for 9 hours, you’re in for a long one.

If you’re a first-year student, you might think this Thanksgiving will be better. You’re an adult now, your family will finally treat you like one, right?


Now that you’re a college student, your family will treat you like a cross between a circus monkey and a complete stranger. 

Be ready for endless interrogation from every family member; now that you’re a college student, all of your adult relatives are going to try to get to know you through a series of short, awkward conversations.

Fun questions like: “How’s school going?” “What’re you studying?” “What do you want to do after college?” 

You’re probably just pumped you finally know what a dryer sheet is for, how are you supposed to think about your future?

It’s kind of hard to envision the job search when you have to shower with sandals on.

Just put your head down, pretend to be interested in answering and — with any luck — you won’t have to answer the same questions over again at Christmas. 

Hey, at least the food will be good.


If my time in college has taught me one thing, it’s the value of a good meal.

For those of you living on campus, you’ve probably been beaten into submission by so many scrambled eggs and chicken patties that even your mom’s toast will make your mouth water. 

If you’re living off-campus, you’re probably already trying to figure out how to best transport a few dozen pounds of leftovers back to Eau Claire and texting your roommate group chat to dibs fridge space.

The family and friends make the day possible, but the food is what keeps all of you coming back every year. 

At the end of the weekend, you’ll be sick of everything involved with Thanksgiving, but by mid finals week, you’ll be craving your family’s political rants and annoying questions, so try to enjoy it.

Johnson can be reached at [email protected].