Thanksgiving: a time for forgiving, celebration, love, and protein. Lots and lots of protein. The holiday is one of the cosiest (and most problematic) in the American culture, filled with parades and fall weather and white guilt over the historic treatment of Native Americans. Sounds romantic, right? Well if you find yourself celebrating Thanksgiving with your significant other for the first time this year, here a few tips to make sure that the night is as warm and intimate as possible.
Have sex BEFORE the feast
I put this first because it is, without a doubt, the most important tip I can give. I don’t care what time your dinner is planned for, and I don’t care what you’re eating: if it’s all leading up to a romantic night between the sheets, push that rendezvous up until before the meal is served.
The reason why is simple: Thanksgiving meals are going to be hearty, and physical activity afterwards is going to be… interesting. Do you really want to be hampered by all those mashed potatoes while you’re trying some elaborate position? All that pumpkin pie and turkey sloshing around in your stomach might end up on the bedspread if you aren’t careful. Even if things don’t go projectile during your sexcapade, chances are that after dinner you’ll both be exhausted from all the food. The least sexy time during Thanksgiving is after you’ve filled your guts with some real white meat.
This can be a bit tricky if you plan to go full out with the food prep. With so many different dishes to juggle, finding a good time to slip away for sex can difficult. So plan ahead, make sure there’s a sweet spot when everything that needs to be cooked in the oven can go in at once, and use that 45ish minutes to head over to the bedroom. Your stomachs will thank you in advance.
Split Dish Duty
The worst, worst, WORST part of Thanksgiving (or any large meal) is the cleanup afterwards. Dishes full of all kinds of food debris and leftover mess is the last thing anyone wants to think about. Still, it has to get done, so tackle that mess as a team.
This might seem unfair if, say, only one person made all the meals and the other person’s only contribution was excessive consumption of said meal. But resentment is a two way street, and if only one person gets saddled with the gross grunt work of dish duty, it won’t matter who did most of the work earlier in the day.
It also doubles as a show of commitment and teamwork: if you two are really committed to each other, you’ll share the good times and the bad. With any luck there won’t be any bad times during Thanksgiving, so by default the dishes are the biggest obstacle to tackle. If you two can handle that, you’ll be set for a smooth holiday season.
Skip over the guest list
Thanksgiving is traditionally a time for families to get together and celebrate. But if it’s the first time you and your significant other are celebrating together, make this Thanksgiving a duo outing.
We all know how it goes: you want to make a good impression on the family, but inevitably someone turns the turkey talk to politics, someone says something awful, and Thanksgiving comes to a screeching awkward halt. Avoid the family feuding and save your partner from suffering through the tensest meal of the year.
Hopefully if you’ve made it to Thanksgiving together, you have theoretically met the parents of your significant other. If not, there’s always Christmas (or Haunakah, or Kwanza, or New Years…). There’s no time table that perfectly satisfies every relationship, but Thanksgiving is most assuredly NOT the ideal time to get your partner acquainted with your racist uncle or your right-wing grandmother.
Make it a movie night
After the Thanksgiving meal, what’s there left to do? Imagine if everything is ready by 5PM, you eat, drink, and be festive for an hour, and then it’s only 6PM and there’s nothing left to do. Thankfully, the holiday lends itself well to transitioning over to a movie night.
The list of Thanksgiving movies is surprisingly vast: there are classics like Planes, Trains, and Automobiles and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (which is always on ABC so no setup required if you have cable), romantic flicks that incorporate the autumn season like You’ve Got Mail and Sweet November, silly comedies like Addams Family Values and The Oath, and even animated films like Free Birds if you want to venture into that territory. The Last Waltz is great if you’re both musically inclined, and Paul Blart: Mall Cop is the perfect Thanksgiving movie for couples with bad taste or ironic inclinations.
Take the opportunity brought on by the post-Thanksgiving meal food coma to snuggle up under a blanket and put on a seasonal favorite.
Avoid the football games
Yes, football during Thanksgiving is a tradition, and I think it’s awesome to watch while stuffing your face full of pumpkin pie, but it’s not very romantic. Unless you and your partner are fanatic fans, it’s best to leave this tradition on the sideline this year.
This might be my own personal experiences clouding my judgment, but my hometown team always had a dubious history when it came to “honoring” Native Americans, much like the Thanksgiving holiday often glosses over the less-than cordial relationship between native people and early settlers. Either way, Thanksgiving was often another reminder of uncomfortable truths about our Washington Football Team.
Even if your own team wasn’t mascotted by a racist caricature, football is best enjoyed in large groups with plenty of beer, not sitting next to your significant other as you’re celebrating your first Thanksgiving together. An exception could be made for those of you in Dallas or Detroit, where Thanksgiving football is a yearly personal investment, but otherwise skip the game this year and focus on each other.
Do something special
This is maddengly vague, but it’s a tip that is meant to be personalized by each couple. Your relationship is unique, and your first Thanksgiving together should reflect that.
If you’re both vegetarians, skip the turkey and put your own spin on the traditional Thanksgiving meal. Maybe you both are the volunteering type and want to spend the season of giving by giving back to the community at a soup kitchen. If you are both like Chandler Bing and can’t stand the holiday, put on something really wacky like a Second Halloween instead.
Whatever you choose to do, make it unique to the tastes of you and your partner. The most important part of spending your first Thanksgiving together is just that: spending it together. Be sure to make it a special occasion that starts traditions that you two will hopefully continue for years to come.