Your Thanksgiving Dinner Survival Guide for 2016

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As if Thanksgiving weren't already awkward enough...this year, the extreme divisiveness and the ongoing trauma-drama of the presidential election pretty much guarantee that fights will break out at Thanksgiving dinner. What can you do to survive it all?

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You can take extreme precautions. For example:

  • Serve only mashed potatoes, scalloped oysters, and other soft foods that don’t require knives at the table.
  • Blast music so loudly that conversation becomes impossible.
  • Stay home and shop Black Friday sales online.

These aren’t viable options for everyone. Team Diva has you covered, though. Here are our tips for surviving Thanksgiving dinner, even if you are among relatives who think that building giant walls, cutting the social safety net and electrocuting gay people into straightness are actually tenable policies.

Hosting Thanksgiving dinner? Stock that Bar!

Yes, on the one hand getting some guests liquored up might actually loosen their lips enough to go off. You know your relatives well enough to make that determination. As for us, if we know that we will be inevitably trapped in bad conversations, we at least want to be buzzed.

Check out our video for stocking your bar for the holidays:

Plan a Friday Friendsgiving

If you are trapped with an insufferable relative or a family member’s obnoxious +1 at dinner, it really helps to know that better days are ahead. That’s why planning a Friday Friendsgiving is a great survival technique. When you know that the next day you will be spending time with chosen family and friends, the blithering of the “All Lives Matter” contingent at Thanksgiving dinner will be noise. Make it a teachable moment and don’t lose your cool, if you can. And then on Friday, eat leftovers, drink wine, watch classic movies, and commune with your truly nearest and dearest.

Speaking of teachable moments…

Read Up On How to Handle Those Awkward Conversations

There are some great strategy guides on how to handle politics at Thanksgiving dinner. Remember when last year it was all about the primaries, protests, and Paris attacks? We thought THAT was bad. But at least the Washington Post had a succinct guide on how to defuse arguments before they start. It’s still relevant. However, this year, we are turning to the expert advice of a hostage negotiator, who just penned a good guide for Quartz. Good luck.

Skip Out and Eat Out Instead

If you can avoid cooking and want to keep it to just a small family (or couples) affair, do it! There are plenty of restaurants that serve fantastic Thanksgiving dinner in Seattle. Here are our three top recommendations for local feasts:

Daniel’s Broiler serves its annual four-course Thanksgiving menu at all three of its locations from noon to 8pm. Take in placid views of the water on Lake Union or Leschi, or relax in downtown Bellevue. The menu is all fresh, northwest-style cuisine and has multiple entrée selections, including prime rib, maple-cured pork roast, broiled salmon and, of course, roasted turkey. Cost: $60 per adult; $12 for kids ages 6-10; 5 and under eat for free.

Cafe Flora is the best option, in our opinion, for vegetarians, vegans, and diners who want gluten-free options. The cafe’s four-course prix fixe Thanksgiving dinner includes a soup, a salad, an entree and a dessert. The kid’s menu is totally different but is organized the same way. One entree option for adults is particularly mouthwatering: Marsala mushroom and cauliflower ragout over roasted squash with smashed rutabaga and Yukon gold potato. Yes. Please. Reserve soon for Thursday between 1pm and 7:30pm, as this one always sells out. Cost: $75 per adult; $25 for kids.

The Dining Room at Salish Lodge & Spa is a great option if you want to get out of the city for a luxurious experience and stellar scenery. Dinner is served from noon to 7pm (but obviously you’ll want to go on the earlier side if you want to actually see outside). Window seating gives you views of the Falls and Snoqualmie river while you dine on a four-course meal. The feast allows you to choose between two options for each course. The main course is served family style and is either a slow roasted turkey or beef prime rib, served with garlic whipped potatoes, sage and sausage stuffing, and Salish honey glazed baby carrots. Save room for pumpkin pie, chocolate pecan pie or cinnamon caramel mousse. Cost: $100 per adult; $35 for kids ages 6-12; 5 and under eat for free.

(And if you REALLY want to treat yourself, stay overnight and enjoy the spa. It’s pretty much the exact opposite of a stressful dinner. #selfcare)

Alternatively, you can also order a meal and eat in. Urbane in downtown Seattle is taking reservations for its turkey dinners that include a whole turkey, seven sides, and dessert. Dinners serve 8-10 guests and can be picked up on Wednesday, Nov. 23 from 4pm to 6pm and on Thanksgiving from 10am to noon. $350 for the whole shebang. Call 206-676-4600 or place your order online.

Screw It. Just Pick That Fight with a Sassy T-Shirt.

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Maybe you just don’t have it in you to stay calm this year. Maybe you know the fight is coming, and you want to go in guns blazing. (Not literally, we hope.) Ditch the finery and get what you want to say off your chest…by wearing it on your chest with a sassy T-shirt. Here are some favorites:

Keep Calm

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More than ever, World War III seems to be an inevitability, but your own home doesn’t have to be a battleground this Thanksgiving. Save your strength for the real battles. Or do what the Divas are doing and Get Some Headspace (a little guided meditation). Once you are centered you can properly prepare for the battle. Call your elected officials. Protest. Donate to the ACLU and every other organization that will be especially important in protecting constitutional rights for everyone (and especially women, minorities, and anyone else explicitly targeted by the incoming administration). Hug it out with friends. Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow…well, hopefully, tomorrow will be even better.

Happy Thanksgiving, Divaland!