how to prepare for Thanksgiving dinner

No, I don’t mean food.  I mean manners and conversation.  Thanksgiving is right around the corner, but so is seeing your family, including aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents whom you haven’t seen all year, or maybe even in five years.  With that said, there is an appropriate conversation for the table, and a conversation that should never leave your college dorm room.  For tips on how to properly wine & dine check out my other blog post.

Family dinners are one of the most exciting and anticipated events in my family.  Maybe it’s because I come from a big Italian family and everyone can’t wait to find out what you’ve been up to over the past year.  From what it sounds like, most of my friends experience the same when they meet up with their families.Image

My siblings and I on Thanksgiving in 2009

Your parents may or may not have experienced college, and if they didn’t go to Penn State, they didn’t experience it the way most of you are.  That is why it’s so important to be on your best behavior this holiday season, starting with conversation at the dinner table.  Here is a guide to appropriate conversations depending on who your audience is.

Acceptable Conversation Topics:

  • Friends
  • Updates on the clubs you’re involved in
  • Plans for the following semester
  • Grades (long lost family members love talking about grades)
  • Boyfriend/Girlfriend?
  • Funny college moment…(once again, only if you are comfortable talking about that with your parents) *immediate family only*

Unacceptable Conversation Topics that should NEVER leave your college dorm:

  • What you and your crush have been up to lately
  • Story about you or your friend falling asleep in a bush or on a lawn
  • Story about being driven home in a police car
  • Failing exams
  • Drama between you and your friends
  • The cat fight you witnessed at a frat party one night
  • How often you bathe


These conversation topics are extremely important to remember with the holiday season approaching.  Some stories are perfectly acceptable to talk about with your immediate family, however, if they’re okay with it, your other family members might not be.

It is important that you never put anyone in a situation that makes them feel uncomfortable while they are trying to enjoy their holiday meal.  As entertaining as you and your best friend falling asleep in a random lawn and getting driven home by cops is, it is sure to make your grandma or conservative aunt uncomfortable.  The only exception to talk about the list that should never leave your college dorm, is if you have that one cousin, uncle or aunt who you know would love to hear your story, just make sure you keep the conversation between you two.

Family members follow you on social media and see your pictures on FacebookInstagram, and your drunk tweets on Twitter.  Try to refrain from any conversation about those posts, and if a family member happens to bring them up, just casually respond and quickly change the subject.  That way you’re not being rude, but you’re not stuck talking about your crazy long keg stand.

With these guidelines, I have faith in each and every one of you to be able to have a mature holiday dinner, no matter what family members you share it with.  Best of luck to you all, and please comment with any suggestions you may have!


Happy Thanksgiving!

xx Kylee


One thought on “how to prepare for Thanksgiving dinner

  1. Kylee, this blog post is really wonderful. The art of etiquette may be lost on our generation to an extent, and it’s refreshing and important to hear of people our age keeping it alive. I also come from a large Italian family, and I love going home to talk for hours and hours over a glass (or two) of wine. But I always make sure my conversation topics are appropriate to whomever I’m speaking with. I think that you provided us with many great conversation topics, and topics that we should definitely not be talking about with our relatives. I look forward to reading more from you!

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