How to Survive Thanksgiving Break at Home

Family Thanksgiving

Whether it's your first Thanksgiving home after leaving for college or your last as a senior, Thanksgiving break is a brief stay with your family. Make it fun and pleasant for everyone.

  • 01 of 06

    Be Available

    Cell phone at dinner table

    Thanksgiving is a time for family. That doesn't mean you can't see your friends who are also home for the holiday, but it does mean that you should check with your parents, grandparents and siblings about their schedules so you can plan around them. You are understandably excited to see old friends, but your parents are most likely far more excited to see you. Take time to sit and talk with each person at home for a bit, just to catch up and reconnect. It may be way more fun to go to parties and see your friends from high school, but a time with a little brother or grandmother will be very much appreciated. If you are never around except for the turkey dinner, you will disappoint everyone - including yourself, when you look back.

  • 02 of 06

    Be Helpful

    mother and daughter cooking

    If your family is hosting Thanksgiving, there will certainly be plenty to do, so jump in and start peeling potatoes or apples for the pie. Set the table, offer to run to the store for forgotten items, take your younger siblings to a movie or play a game or two with them. Don't expect to be waited on, and chances are you will be - out appreciation and love. 

  • 03 of 06

    Be Awake

    young woman asleep

    It will be tempting, back in your own bed, in your own room, away from the noise of roommates and dorm activities, to spend much of your time at home catching up on lost sleep. Try not to do this. You don't have to get up with the rest of the family to rush out the door to work or school, but you should be up, showered and dressed by late morning. Your family is excited to see you and spend time with you. Sleeping away your brief visit home is not a great use of your time.

  • 04 of 06

    Be Accepting

    mother and daughter eating

    You may have changed the way you do things while you've been in school, and that's expected. What you may not expect is that your family may have changed also. With you not living there, dynamics of relationships and the distribution of responsibilities may be different, and it may take you a little time to adjust. Younger siblings may have grown up a bit, or if your parents are now empty nesters, they may have found new ways to spend their time that might seem a little strange to you. For example, your parents may now get up for an early morning walk together, which they may not have done before. Or maybe they are watching new and different TV shows in the evening that you don't necessarily enjoy. Don't complain, or make a big deal - just wait for them to come back from their walk to have breakfast or watch a show you like on your laptop.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Be Understanding


    Your family may get a little emotional when you return home - and you may find yourself getting a little overwhelmed with feelings you didn't expect, too. Particularly if you've had a hard time adjusting to college if you are a freshman, you will have conflicting emotions about being back home, ranging from grateful to resentful. Don't push those feelings aside - talk to someone sympathetic - your mother, your father, or a close friend. It's completely normal and expected to feel this way during a brief visit home, especially for younger college students.

  • 06 of 06

    Be Patient

    father and son

    You know you're not a little child anymore, but in your parents' eyes you will always be their baby boy or girl. If they are being a little clingy or teary- eyed, don't get angry or annoyed with them. Being a parent is not easy, especially when the kids leave home and leave them behind. Let your mom do your laundry and brush your hair, and let your dad check the oil in your car or talk to you about how to budget your money (again!). You don't have to answer all of their questions, especially the more personal ones, but sharing about your life in college is important to them, and you may find that they have solutions to problems you are having or dilemmas that you face. Remember, they were once your age.