Topics: family, transportation, travel
Over the next 72 hours, Americans will travel the equivalent of 16 light years around the country to visit relatives, exchange family gossip, and pass out from turkey overload while watching football. If the thought of squeezing the spouse and kids into the car for a four-hour drive to grandma’s has you down, consider these options for making that Turkey Day commute a little less painful.
- Stay home. Make no excuses. Just tell everyone you’re staying home. “No, gas isn’t too expensive. No, we don’t hate you. No, we’re not converting to the Cult of Turkey Protectors. We’re just staying home and having a small, inexpensive Thanksgiving celebration on our own. Just us, our children… and the Nintendo Wii which is the real reason we can’t afford to drive to see you all this year.”
- Meet them halfway. You live in Boston, they live in Atlanta. Both of you could travel half the distance and enjoy the holiday where you meet. So what’s a good halfway point for Boston and Atlanta? Pancake, West Virginia, of course!
- Celebrate with closer relatives and friends. There’s no need to drive seven hours to visit your parents back home when you’ve got perfectly good cousins 90 minutes away that you haven’t seen in years… maybe even never! For that extra Thanksgiving surprise, don’t tell them you’re coming and waltz right through the front door. Just be sure to bring a copy of the family tree to prove you’re entitled to half their turkey.
- Host family at your place. Bring your travel costs down to zero by guilting everyone into coming to your home for Thanksgiving this year. Don’t let relatives crying “But Grandma’s hosted it every year for 25 years, and she’s in a wheelchair so she can’t drive down here, and this could be her last Thanksgiving” deter you. You’re hosting Thanksgiving… and you’re giving away free DVD players to the first five relatives to arrive!
- Go shopping instead. Kmart is open on Thanksgiving and has some great deals on GPS navigators and… oh wait, that’s not really going to save you any money. It’ll save gas money, maybe.
- Set up a Thanksgiving videoconference. That fancy video communications equipment they have where you work is just begging to be borrowed to help bring together distant families this Thanksgiving. Now you don’t have to worry about Great Uncle Fred eating all of the sweet potatoes, but you still get to hear his amusing yet slightly insulting stories about all the dames and broads he’s known in his 80-some years.
- Purposely book the worst flight possible. Check which airline in your area is notorious for delays, bumping passengers, and causing extreme frustration in its customers during Thanksgiving week. Then book your plane tickets on them, show up late, and pray that they bump you to a flight that doesn’t leave until Christmas Eve.
- Cause a family feud. You’ve got less than 24 hours to do it, but you could get the ball rolling by telling Aunt Kelly that you overhead Aunt Sally say she was getting fat. Eventually long-repressed opinions will spread like wildfire, and your family won’t want to be near each other until at least Easter 2012.
- Disown family that lives more than 100 miles away. It’s not your fault they decided to stay in their inexpensive country farm home on 50 acres of gorgeous meadow while you and your family decided to take up residence in a ridiculously overpriced 600-square-foot apartment in the middle of downtown. You can have an amazing Thanksgiving feast at home… well, except you don’t have an oven to cook it in… or a refrigerator… or a dining room table. But nothing says Thanksgiving like an Arby’s roast beef sandwich!
- Convince yourself it isn’t Thanksgiving. Several of my co-workers and friends were confused by the extra Thursday this month; they were thinking that Thanksgiving was always the last Thursday in November when it’s really the fourth Thursday. Play dumb and make this “mistake” yourself. Then enjoy the James Bond marathon on Spike TV with Pussy Galore and all her friends.
As for me, since my family is only 60 miles away, we’ll be spending the day there tomorrow with relatives, friends, and the biggest turkey you’ve ever seen (wait, I forgot Uncle Fred isn’t coming this year because he has to work).