Whether you like heading home for the holidays or not, being with family can be a challenge. Everyone has their own opinions about everything, it seems, and they also have their share of hurts and grudges. The last thing you want to do is get caught in the crossfire.
We at the New York Acting School for Film and Television, don’t want you to simply act like you’re enjoying Thanksgiving dinner, we want to know that you’re really able to enjoy it. Whether you think that’s impossible or not, these tips we have to share with you are worth a try.
Play Jazz or Classical Music. They say that music soothes the savage beast and they’re not kidding. Make sure there’s music playing in the background but keep it calm and neutral.
Talk About Travel: Feel free to start the discussion. Talk about where you want to go next, (when it’s responsible, of course - wouldn’t want your uncle giving you a speech about that!) Ask everyone else where they would go if they could and fantasize about your plans.
Embarrassing Memories: Almost self explanatory, have everyone share a totally embarrassing story. Maybe focus on embarrassing things that happened at school or at work. After the end of the story, have a show of hands of who can relate or has gone through something similar!
Real Gratitude: Instead of the usual “sharing what you’re thankful for”, really be in gratitude. Before or after the meal, take turns sharing their gratitude for both the person on their left and one other person at the table or in the room. We as a society are great at sharing that we are thankful for food, shelter, clothing and such - but we fall short in sincerely sharing our gratitude for other people. When people feel they are appreciated, they do more of whatever has been noticed and appreciated. Appreciation creates a desire in our hearts to do and love well.
Share Your Goals: Share some of your goals for the last year and the coming year. Talk about how you met them or how you’re still working on them. Stay away from why you didn’t meet them or your hold-backs because this could be a source of conflict or critique. Talk about what excites and motivates you and then ask others about their goals, excitement and motivation.
These are all great boosters to the evening and will help you to get deeper and closer to your friends and family members.
You’re going to be with family regardless. (Hey, these tips are even useful with your more difficult friends!) So make the best of it and make it meaningful. Choose your words wisely and remember that we’re all humans trying to figure this out together.
And if you still feel like you need to “act” like you’re enjoying it, we understand. Improve those skills as needed at the New York Acting School for Film and Television, (and family get-togethers).