Angry Uncle Review: Rave About the Stuffing and Lock the Liquor Cabinet

At the North Jersey Record—and who knows more about fighting than folks from Jersey, amirite?—Cindy Schweich Handler also goes the academic route. Her piece is about Thanksgiving stresses in general, but naturally the angry uncle makes an appearance:

Build alliances. “Most people can predict what’s going to happen,” says Jill Cermele, a professor of psychology at Drew University in Madison. “Uncle Joe’s going to talk politics, Grandma will ask if you have a boyfriend, your brother’s going to ask what you’re doing after college.” Plan for quick ways to deflect the conversation — for example, “I don’t know about that, but I do know that this stuffing is incredible.” Theresa Licata McConnell, who grew up in Asbury Park and Ocean Township, knew that her guests held opposing views on divisive issues like politics, so she reached out to trusted Thanksgiving guests to help her avoid the topics, and redirect the conversation if it headed into dangerous territory.

Plan fun, (non-partisan) topics. Ask everyone to take a turn saying what they’re thankful for this year. Get a clipboard and get guests’ predictions for the next year on uncontroversial topics. What movie will win the Best Picture Oscar? Which football teams are going to the Super Bowl? Let everyone know that next year, you’ll reveal the winners.

Watch your own alcohol intake. “You want to be in your right mind, so if wine enhances that, good,” says Benanti. “But know what it is that takes you off-center. I have clients who hit that third glass, and all hell breaks loose.”

“This stuffing is incredible” isn’t exactly the subtlest way of redirecting a conversation, but it’s so crazy it might work! And football predictions! This is basically just a variation on “don’t get sucked into talking about politics no matter what,” but sometimes the classic strategies are the best.

But what moves this from three uncles to four is the final bit: don’t drink so much you get plastered. In fact, I recommend serving limited amounts of alcohol so no one can get too plastered. This is truly admirable advice. Four uncles.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate