By Mickie McLeod
CBS 62/CW50 Intern

Happy Thanksgiving! It’s the day where elastic waistband pants are encouraged and the time of year where your mom breaks out her holiday themed crew neck sweatshirt.

READ MORE: Former MDHHS Director, Robert Gordon To Receive $155,000 Payout After Resignation

Thanksgiving has evolved in my family household. What used to be a traditional family bond around the table while wearing my nicest clothes has now turned into yelling at the Detroit Lions game all while wearing my finest elephant suit (gray sweatpants and a hoodie).

Throughout past years I’ve had a struggle figuring out what I wanted to contribute to dinner, what conversation to make with crazy Aunt Kerri, and what to do while waiting around for the turkey.

As a result, I’ve discovered the best ways to make my Thanksgiving less stressful and quite easy. Here is my best advice to make this Thanksgiving easy for you too.

What I Bring

I’ll admit, I’m not the greatest cook. This summer, I spent the majority of my time alone Up North, so I’d spend my free time experimenting with cooking and baking. I failed most of the time, except with one thing. That’s when I discovered my calling: pies.

Pies are so simple to make and bring for Thanksgiving. Without a pie, the whole Thanksgiving dinner leads to nothing. You can find an easy recipe online and you can never have too many for Thanksgiving dessert.

If baking or cooking isn’t your thing, don’t feel ashamed picking up a pie from the local market on your way over. Take it out of the tin pan, put it on a pretty plate, and give yourself full credit for it. Own that you made it from scratch and see if anyone notices.

Conversations I Have

It was never super easy for me to talk to random extended family members on past Thanksgivings. Either my cousins were hungover from the bar the night before or I’d be asked why I still haven’t brought a boyfriend around for the holidays. Searching for a conversation was so bad that I even found myself preparing topics to discuss before the big day.

READ MORE: Blue Cross of Michigan CEO Earned $11.5M in 2020

Here are my favorite easy ways to make some convo:

Come up with some jokes to break any struggle. Here’s one of my favorites to start with:
YOU say – “It smells like Up-Dog in here.”
Uncle Ernie will question, – “What’s Up-Dog?”
YOU start the conversation – “Oh not much, how have you been Uncle Ernie?”

If you don’t like jokes, share a story with your relative that’ll be relatable for them to continue the conversation. If you don’t have a story, make one up.

I once shared a fictional story about my cat Walter with my Aunt Kerri, all because she recently got a new cat so I knew she’d love it. Although I spent an hour looking at different cat photos and videos, I at least dodged a conversation about why I’m the sibling still without a relationship. If you have the same conversation problem, find what your cat convo is.

My Must Do’s

Growing up as children, my family had a Thanksgiving tablecloth where we would all write down what we were thankful for on it. Being a fat child growing up, I still laugh at the fact that I once wrote: “I am thankful for pepperoni.” Although we don’t use the tablecloth anymore, it enhanced the dinners when we were kids and still enhances my fat childhood memories.

Another thing to enhance your Thanksgiving is making sure you provide games. Have a deck of cards handy in the drawer just in case. Since the table will be large enough for your entire family, play the game “spoons” and discover which one of your Aunts is the most competitive.

You can also always create your own game for this Thanksgiving. My current project is making my own game of “Guess Who.” I’m currently replacing the original member’s faces of the classic “Guess Who” game with my own family members and friend’s faces. I’m making sure these photos are as ridiculous as possible.

One last suggestion to do during the Thanksgiving weekend is to wake up early the next morning and head to the mall. I personally don’t go shopping, but I like to watch the crazies demolish stores. Grab an Auntie Anne’s pretzel, sit down on a bench, and enjoy the show. It is a tradition for me to go with my friends, solely to people watch and get some free entertainment.

This thankful feast only comes once a year, remember to break out the sweatpants so you can have more room to eat and don’t forget to compliment your mom’s crew neck. Make up a story for your Uncle Ernie and always have the most fun you can on Thanksgiving, I know I sure will!

MORE NEWS: 17 Puppies Turned Into Detroit's Michigan Humane Society

Mickie McLeod is a Livonia, MI native.  She’s currently majoring in Communication Studies at Wayne State University and is a CBS 62/CW50 Intern.