Ask Laura Saves Thanksgiving!

VN Editor-at-Large and advice guru Laura Hooper Beck is here to help with her Holiday Hotline.

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Dear Laura,
My dad makes highly inappropriate toasts every Thanksgiving. I often bring friends over for the holidays, and I’m embarrassed by his behaviors. How can I tell him to cool it without creating conflict?
—Worried in Washington, DC

A: What is it with dads and being inappropriate? It’s almost like the reason they have kids is just to humiliate them. Mission accomplished, dads! I think there are two ways you can deal with this, the first being, brace your friends. Sample script: “So, the thing is, my dad’s totally insane, and will probably do one of the following things: give his toast in character as Sammy Davis, Jr., reference my parents extremely healthy sex life, or stick his hand up the Tofurky and use it as a puppet. I just want you to know, I do not endorse these behaviors, and I’m ashamed to be related to that crazy, crazy man.” That way your friends know right off the bat that you know what’s up, and that you’re so very, very sorry.

The second option is to talk to your dad and kindly communicate that his toasts are bizarro. This could go well if you’re comfortable being honest with pops, but it might have the reverse effect of making him act extra bizarro and/or hurting his precious feelings, so be prepared for possible ramifications.

The fact is, everyone’s family is really embarrassing. And if they’re not, they’re boring. So hey, be thankful (heeey!) your dad isn’t boring, and that your parents are gracious enough to invite your friends into their home. And just know, your friends have plenty of humiliating relatives back home—like a grandma who eats with her feet or an uncle whose girlfriend is always in Canada, ya know? Having your whole family together is a rare, special, and sometimes crazy thing—embrace it!

Check out Laura’s other solutions to your Thanksgiving troubles here!

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