A beginner’s guide to Thanksgiving relatives

Leo Hickey, staff writer

Everyone knows the feelingyou thought you knew all of your relatives until complete strangers you’ve never seen in your life start flooding into the house Thanksgiving night. It can easily become overwhelming when someone who is suddenly claiming to be your aunt is trying to wrangle their flailing baby as you try to stay as far away as possible. To ease the onset of Thanksgiving family overload, Zephyrus has created a comprehensive guide to the types of relatives you’re likely to encounter at a turkey day gathering.

1. The uncle or aunt you highly suspect is racist.

They arrived in their car covered with political bumper stickers. They won’t stop talking about things that make everyone uncomfortable. And you’re pretty sure they’re a closeted racist. You have to be very careful making any kind of definitive statement at the dinner table because this person will turn any conversation political. The dinner conversation is slowly becoming a barrage of bizarre accusations from this person, and the only way to distract them is by offering them more food. Everyone is becoming more and more uncomfortable. You’re morbidly afraid that someone might start an argument with this person and everything will go south. For now, you’ll just nod your head and say ‘I guess that makes sense’ as their statements become more and more offensive.

2. The Actually Chill Cousin

Transitioning to a higher note, the cool cousin is the one relative you always want to stay close to. Like a beaming ray of sunshine in the bitter outlands of Siberia, the chill cousin will provide a bearable person to hang out with amidst the sea of extended family. You’re not sure if they actually like you (in fact, they probably find you a little clingy), but that’s okay because you’re pretty sure they’ll forget you exist the minute you leave. What matters, though, is they’re actually a tolerable person to be with. The most mellow of all the guests, they’ll seek out the most comfortable chair like a moth to a flame and be on their phone most of the night. It’s not clear if they have any actual personality traits, but you’ll get some laughs in. The chill cousin never discloses any personal information, and as the night goes on, it becomes pretty clear this person has been in jail at some time or another. But it’s probably fine.

3. The mom with the insane kid

You get it, babies are hard. You try to feel nothing but sympathy for this woman and her kid, but this child is absolutely nuts. He literally won’t stop, and you can’t tell whether it’s out of hunger, fear, or some kind of primal rage. You’re fairly sure that if this baby had a weapon, you’d all be long gone, but for now, you’re stuck trying to watch his poor mother trying to jam food into his mouth while he’s not paying attention. Everyone is still trying to pretend he’s cute, but people are noticeably trying to be as far away as possible. The mom keeps trying to pawn them off to someone else, but people keep inexplicably having to go to the bathroom when they make eye contact with her. At this point, you’re not entirely sure if this baby is fully human, or a strange crossbreed of a hyena.

4. The Over-Enthusiastic Hipster

Is beekeeping probably a very interesting hobby? Sure. Is it something you want to see pictures of for five hours straight? No. The over-enthusiastic hipster, who’s probably some sort of removed cousin,  flew all the way from southern California to talk about the finer details of how to make your own strawberry jam, and they will not be quiet until you’re as enthusiastic as they are. It starts out pretty cool, and at first you kind of look up to this person. But soon they start to get pretty tiring, and you’re not gonna lie, their tongue piercing kind of makes you uncomfortable. The hipster seems to make major life decisions at a moment’s notice, like when they ate an entire plate of stuffing, looked at their phone for a few minutes, then declared that they were strictly against eating breadcrumbs and threw the rest of the stuffing in the garbage. You can’t decide if they’re infuriating or entertaining, but as long as you don’t have to try free samples of their homemade artisanal goat milk, you’ll get by.

5. That one kid who silently stares at you the entire night

Why is he staring at you? Why won’t he look away? Doesn’t he have anything else to do? This is exactly why you spent Christmas alone with your cat.