Vintage Thanksgiving Dinner

Do you have any funny holiday traditions? My aunt Rosie has a trick that always lightens the mood…

Pictionary! “It’s good to play when the kids start getting on your nerves,” she told me. “Once they start drawing, you kind of fall back in love with them.”

Every year, when the kids bring out the game, there’s an unanimous “nope” from the adults. But, every year, the kids start playing without them — and once the game starts rolling, without fail, every family member ends up joining in and LOVING it.

Suddenly, five-year-olds are pitted against 80-year-old grandmas, and dads are chanting out answers like, “Levitating babysitter,” so seriously you would have thought the world was ending. The entire house explodes with shrieks — even from the uncle who had dozed off on the couch only minutes before. It’s dorky, hilarious and possibly the only tactic that has ever worked on my uniting my family.

For those who have never played Pictionary, here’s how it works: A teammate chooses a card with a specific word or phrase and then draws the image while fellow teammates guess what it is. For us, the game is most successful if we play on an easel, so everyone can see. And for really little kids, we make sure the words on the cards aren’t too complicated before it’s their turn.

“It’s also funny to look back at the stressed-out drawings left in the box from previous games,” Rosie told me. “You’re like, ‘What the hell is that? Why is there a clock with only eight hours on it?'”

So, if your Thanksgiving needs a laugh, try playing a game to chill everyone out. Straight-up charades is always fun, too, or Heads Up! (which you can play with your phones) and, of course, classic ol’ Catch Phrase.

What are your post-dinner rituals on Thanksgiving? A movie? Football? A cozy nap on the sofa?

P.S. Three funny Thanksgiving rules, and conversation starters that work every time.