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Nightlife: Thanksgiving Evening

When everyone is so full that just laying on the couch and simply digesting is the preferred activity, it’s hard to do much other than gossip with small talk, which isn’t always the most enjoyable pastime.

Most of my peers have noticed that families often start to focus on the college student at gatherings for updates and inquiries, even more so for soon-to-be graduates. Questions range from school to life, like, “What do you plan to do after graduation? How are your grades? Where are you looking for jobs? Are you dating anyone?” Despite their good intentions and care, answering these questions can be awkward when you don’t know the answers yourself.


So, while fall break is nice to catch up with family and see people who care about you, it can also be annoying and awkward to be facing family over break. To avoid the awkwardness, here are some ideas to move the conversation along and away from the small talk.

Board Games

Assorted board games belonging to the Hoover Family (Anna Hoover | Collegian)


Nothing is more classic than board games. Offering to play a game can provide a change conversation topics and still provide enjoyable family time. True, some games might not be as helpful, such as Monopoly or The Game of Life, as they might bring out some of the tensions you’re trying to avoid. However, games like Trivial Pursuit, Scene it? or other more relaxed board games that can include more than just two people are a great way to pass time without much effort. Everybody can still sit and relax after being over-stuffed from turkey, mashed potatoes or whatever delicious dishes the family brought over for Thanksgiving. Plus, games that require conversation and thinking, such as trivia games, not only keep the family occupied but can help them forget all those pesky questions that you don’t want to, or are not ready to, answer.


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Screen shot of new releases on Netflix to choose from after the Thanksgiving meal (Anna Hoover | Collegian)

Granted, movies can’t help you move past conversations as they usually just postpone them. However, they can help ease the tension and allow for a relaxing activity after food before you get into the meat of the conversation. Putting in a movie, finding one on Netflix or whatever your family still uses to watch movies can set the tone for the evening. It can also create new material for conversations or just give you time to think about the answers to questions they want to ask. When you are so full from food, nobody wants to be doing much else other than sitting and just relaxing. My family usually watches Chitty Chitty Bang Bang while eating dessert to allow for people to relax and digest a little before we do anything else. Don’t ask why that particular movie, it has been a tradition for longer than I can remember.

Word Games

Turkey drawing for a game of Pictionary in theme with Thanksgiving (Anna Hoover | Collegian)


If nothing else, you can change the type of conversation with word games. Families often like to tell stories and reminisce at gatherings like Thanksgiving dinner, so why not create new stories? You can play a “Yes, and…” game where one person gives a sentence and the next person says, “Yes, and [something that happens next]”, adding to the story like you would retell an old memory you had together. Unless your family is used to doing these kinds of activities, it might be awkward to start. But, once you get going, it is entertaining, especially if you have a relative that likes to get tipsy at Thanksgiving. There are also other games like charades or Pictionary that can get people interacting and talking without the awkward small talk and family gossip.


Don’t dread Thanksgiving with family. It’s a time when you’re supposed to be enjoying family time and great food, not stressing. But, when you get done eating and are stuck in the same room with all the nosy relatives, these are some great ideas to keep Thanksgiving simple and tension free. Happy Thanksgiving!

Nightlife Writer Anna Hoover can be reached at or on Twitter @Hoovanna17. Read more of her content on NightLife. Leave a comment!!

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