Wendy Wisnewski writes, “What should I do to entertain the children while I am finishing the last-minute preparations in the kitchen?”
I’m assuming the husband/father here is either in jail or he has already been tasked to keep Uncle Herb and Cousin Phil in opposite ends of the house. Clearly, hiring a clown to come in and perform a small magic show and make balloon animals for the kids is out of the question – not necessarily because getting a clown to work on a holiday may be difficult but because you may not be able to tell him apart from your Aunt Phyllis. If you’re not planning on taking a family photo sometime that day, a nice paintball war in the backyard would be a good activity – dress the kids up like Pilgrims. Get them all tuckered out running around and then fill them with turkey (Mother Nature’s sleeping pill, tryptophan), and they’ll zonk out for hours after dinner. If you are planning on a family photo, just substitute the paintball guns with BB guns – it’s really easy to airbrush out any red marks the BBs might make on the children’s skin.
Bradley Rykoff asks, “I woke up this morning with a tattoo of a Smurf on my chest and a message on my answering machine telling me that I agreed to have all the guys from my office over for Thanksgiving dinner. I just bought a turkey, and it’s got a bunch of strange things stuffed up inside it. What are they and what do I do with them?”
I can’t help you with the Smurf on your chest (although I would recommend forgoing that trip to the Bahamas with your buddies until you resolve that issue), but the turkey thing is something I can address. That bag of goodies inside the turkey is called the giblets: the heart, gizzard, liver, and other edible organs of the turkey. If you were going to stuff the bird – that’s not a euphemism – you would take the giblets and chop them up and mix them in with the stuffing. My recommendation, though, would be to find out who got your drunk enough to get you to have a Smurf tattooed on your chest and place them in his sock drawer or bed sheets along with a note that says, “Killer.”
Lastly, Kelly Chadwick poses the question, “With seating at my one and only dining room table limited, where should I seat the children?”
When I was a child, we were banished to the kids’ table, which was basically a folding card table with a white paint stain from a long-forgotten home-improvement project. And while one could make the argument that such an arrangement is good for children’s socialization skills, the reality is that you’re going to spend more time ferrying the kids back to their own seats because they want to sit at the adult table. If you don’t go with the paintball activity mentioned above, and you don’t anticipate an opportunity to get your kids completely exhausted, the best thing to do is seat the children at the big table and have the adults sit in the family room with TV trays to watch the football game. Believe me, you won’t hear any complaints about not sitting at the adult table. Happy Thanksgiving!