Don’t Be That Relative: If You’re Going To Be Hypercritical Of The Thanksgiving Host, Do Everyone A Favor And Stay Home
Thanksgiving is a few short days away and the same turkey day memes and statuses that we enjoy year after year are in heavy rotation. From #ThanksgivingWithBlackFamilies to #ThanksgivingClapbacks, you’re bound to enjoy a chuckle or two when you log into your preferred social network this time of year. Unfortunately, mixed in with the light-hearted memes and statuses, you’ll also find some deprecating and malicious ones disguised as humor.
Among the more problematic ones are the ones that take aim at those gracious enough to open up their homes to family and friends for holiday dinner — specifically, the hostess’s culinary skills or cleanliness. Recently, one popped up and my timeline, which read: “If you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner, make sure you clean your bathtub. Stop closing your shower curtain like we ain’t gon’ peep.” This type of attitude is problematic for so many reasons.
I won’t pretend to be naive. Not everyone is clean and serving food in an unsanitary environment can be dangerous. However, we’re all adults with the ability to use logic and reasoning to make informed decisions. If you have concerns about someone having less-than-sanitary habits, the adult thing to do would be to keep your ass home or go elsewhere for dinner — not show up to someone’s house, turn up your nose in the face of their hospitality, make faces behind their back, and snoop around looking dirt in their tubs and dust bunnies underneath their furniture. Going to someone’s home with this hyper-critical mindset accomplishes nothing. There likely aren’t any actual concerns about cleanliness at all. You’re probably just miserable, mean, and like to make people feel bad. I’m always uncomfortable when I overhear someone sitting in another woman’s house criticizing her while simultaneously scarfing down her food and guzzling her drinks.
It’s easy to roll out of bed and show up to someone’s home Thanksgiving Day with nothing but your appetite acting like you’re the head of the health department, a food critic, or Suzie Homemaker, but a little grace and compassion for our loved ones would be nice. The act of opening your home and cooking holiday dinner is not a simple task. Cooking a meal of that size is physically taxing and time-consuming. There is an immense amount of multi-tasking required — not to mention the fact that groceries are not cheap. And all of that doesn’t even include the housekeeping part. Yet, our loved ones open their homes and their wallets to us annually by way of this arduous labor of love. We can all show them a little more kindness, humanity, and appreciation by refraining from commenting on the following:
Her children’s behavior
Unless it directly affects you or your children, it’s best to refrain from commenting on the behavior of someone else’s children in a negative way. So often, we have all of the grace and compassion in the world for our kids, but we’re hyper-critical when it comes to other people’s children. It costs you nothing to mind your business, so keep your comments to yourself.
Her homemaking skills
Perhaps you really hate the puke green carpet that covers her floors or the way that her dinner table is arranged, but there really is no need to comment on either of those things. For one, you don’t have to live there. And secondly, comments like that don’t serve an actual purpose. They’re just hurtful.
Her culinary abilities
So what if her greens don’t taste like Big Mama’s. Newsflash: They don’t have to. The meal was prepared with love and she most certainly didn’t have to do it, so be gracious and keep your negative commentary to yourself.
The tidiness of her home
Perhaps things got a bit disorganized during the shuffle of trying to prepare dinner. Instead of criticizing her for having a less-than-perfect home, roll up your sleeves and ask how you can help.