Just a couple of writers on a road trip through life. Hop in, hold on, and don’t forget your rain boots.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I made up some things to do at family holiday gatherings to entertain yourself. In case you get bored on Thanksgiving.

Always handy

This post is not about writing. Not today anyway. Unless you are writing a prank book. I have more writing stuff to say and lots of updates, but today I just feel kind of goofy and not at all serious, and in that vein I choose to write something a little off topic. 

So here's some ideas of ways to mess with your relatives on Thanksgiving. Because it's fun. Because you can't take life too seriously, even when serious stuff happens. I'd rather laugh than cry. I’m not including things like getting drunk and sticking the turkey on your head. That’s been done. Like a lot. Once you’ve seen them do it on Friends about a billion times, it loses its appeal. 

  • Change the words to Christmas songs to make them dirty, because Christmas is constantly stealing Thanksgiving’s thunder. Someday I'll make my version of Frosty The Snowball Man available to the public.  
  • Complicated: Find some dog doody and when no one is looking, steal people’s shoes from the pile by the door and “step” in the poo. Then return the shoes and presto! Someone gets blamed for having poo shoe. Problem: Not everyone takes their shoes off during holiday celebrations, and you’d have to go scouting for poo, unless you brought your own, and the mission could take longer than expected and you could be easily discovered with your hand in the poo cookie jar, as it were. 
  • Simple: Steal one of each pair of shoes from the pile and put them in a linen closet or similar when no one is looking. Bonus: Try to get all the lefts. 
  • When bringing potluck stuff: Make sure the dish is covered, and write a fancy calligraphy label with an elaborate title that includes at least one word that is also euphemism for a bodily function or a dirty act (ralph, pinched loaf, chunder, choked chicken, salami surprise, whatever). 
  • Convince all the children that their parents are aliens and see how many agree to be on your alien destroying ninja team. Bring Nerf weapons and supply the troops. 
  • Walk around wearing a big sweater with big pockets filled with ping pong balls. Drop them out of your pockets occasionally, until people start wondering why the hell there are ping pong balls everywhere. Stick some in a kitchen cabinet for fun, so that the next person that opens it gets balls all over them. This would never work at my family celebration, because there are constantly people in the kitchen. Food pranks are also hard as the grown-ups keep an ever-vigilant watch over the food in my family. I’m not sure why. 
  • Walk around to any unattended water cups and put a little bit of distilled white vinegar in when no one is looking. Do not get caught doing this because when people taste it and spit their water out they will be really irritated, especially if they take a big gulp to wash down the residue from Aunt Mabel’s fruitcake. Be far away when that happens. 
  • Go into the bedrooms and change the times on the clocks. It really freaks people out. 
  • Teach all the kids in the under two set curse words. Wait, that’s mean. Plus in my family we’re the only one with an under two. And he already knows all the curse words. Scratch that one. 
  • Switch the dill pickles with sweet pickles. Not everyone puts pickles on the table for Thanksgiving. But we do. And I hate sweet pickles. So it’s funny when people get an unexpectedly wrong pickle. And it’s fun to say pickle. 
  • There’s this stuff called basting tape. People use it for sewing. I use it to (temporarily) shorten the sleeves on everyone’s unattended coats and sweaters. People loosen their belts on Thanksgiving but who would think their arms would grow too? 
  • Whenever someone sets down their cell phone, move it somewhere else. See how many people you can make completely crazy. Bonus: When people have identical phones, try to swap them around. Don’t let them go home with the wrong phone though. That’s just mean and has the potential for a lot of extra driving/wasting gas. 
  • Stand next to people having an in depth discussion and whisper stuff under your breath. See if you can get someone to stand on the other side of the circle or sit across the table and do the same, so everyone gets super confused. 
  • Bring duct tape to any family gathering. It’s fun and you never know when you will have a chance to use it for something cool. Like….I don’t know. There are so many uses for duct tape. I’ve always wanted to try to tape a small child to a wall with it. But my smallest kid already weighs 29 pounds. I’m not sure it would hold. Plus he’s really wiggly. 
  • Any time someone makes a comment, answer in rhyme. Or with a limerick.

You could have a really entertaining holiday, or just establish yourself as the weirdo of the family. I already hold that position (and trust me, in my family, it’s quite a competition for the title) so I’m good. But I still like to do stuff to make people laugh or sometimes to make them cry (but just a little, and only my little brothers because even though we’re all technically adults, I’m never coping to it or giving up my big sisterly rights to traumatize them whenever possible). 

There are so many things at “the holidays” that feel repetitive (people call them traditions) that I feel like messing with people's minds. It’s not that I don’t know how to behave. I do. Don’t blame my mother for any of this. I’m a classic case of nature vs. nurture gone wrong, where the nurture was really good but I still ended up kind of nutso. It’s okay though. I’ve accepted it. And hey, my family still invites me for holidays. 

 What about you? Got any good holiday style pranking you'd like to share? Comment below-- bonus points for an update after TG on how they worked.

Julie Simmons-Wixom is a social pariah with six fingers on her left hand. If you have a question, email her here.

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