To ask an etiquette question, please email Helen at email@example.com
YOU ASK! WE ANSWER! YOU DECIDE!
By Callie Gordon, Lillie-Beth Brinkman, Helen Ford Wallace
QUESTION: During the Thanksgiving holidays, what if you're at a home that doesn't celebrate the holiday properly and doesn't turn on the TV to watch football after the meal? Can I turn on the TV? Should I broadly hint that I want to watch the game? Must I go to a sports bar, or should I just fume in silence?
CALLIE'S ANSWER: Turn on the game, but please be social as well. To me, Thanksgiving is about being around your friends, family and turkey!
LILLIE-BETH'S ANSWER: Watching football on Thanksgiving may seem like the "proper" way to celebrate the holiday, but it's not a requirement, like eating turkey is. And even turkey isn't essential to some family traditions. Your host is inviting you -- and you are going, I assume -- in order to spend the holiday with loved ones. If football is what makes your holiday special but you are in the minority there, ask your host if you can turn on the game in another room. But don't forget to come out and socialize from time to time. And when the meal is served, stay present and try not to isolate yourself in favor of the game. It will be nice if your host understands that football is your priority for that day, but you can also take the time to understand a different point of view, too. Keep in mind the main purpose of the gathering. (Hint: It's not football.) And if it's too much of a problem, stay home or tell your host in advance that you are going to leave to watch the game, explaining that football is a major part of your own family's Thanksgiving tradition. Be prepared for hurt feelings, though. Having guests and cooking for them is not an easy task but a labor of love.
HELEN'S ANSWER: If there is a special game you want to watch, you might ask your hostess what the protocol is for watching football before and after dinner. If she advises you that there will be no televisions on, then you might have to make a choice as to whether to attend the holiday dinner. Communicate ahead of time about your concerns. I don't think you can just turn on the television in someone else's home.
That being said, I think Thanksgiving turkey and football go together. The people who don't want to watch the games can convene in another room.