What families fight about on Thanksgiving

Posted at 9:35 AM, Nov 27, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-27 11:58:28-05

As we all know, Thanksgiving isn’t always the harmonious holiday it’s sometimes made out to be.

Stick a bunch of relatives together in the same house, add menu planning and alcohol and things can get a little snippy.

Many people have strong opinions about how to cook the turkey, what side dishes to serve and who has to clean up.

Family traditions die hard and new ideas aren’t always welcome.

“I know you don’t like creamed pearled onions but we’ve had creamed pearled onions at our Thanksgiving table since I was a little girl and we’re not about to stop now. I had to suffer, so we’re all going to suffer.”

And don’t get us started on the potatoes.

Then there are broader questions of Thanksgiving Day etiquette.

Some families break out the fine china and dress up for dinner, while others eat on paper plates in front of the TV.

Some of us watch football, while others hold annual viewings of “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.”

And, as stores open earlier and earlier to chase those Black Friday dollars, there’s even a formerly unheard-of question for families to grapple with: Is it OK to go holiday shopping on Thanksgiving?

Nobody wants to squabble on a holiday but some family feuds are inevitable.

Here are the things you’re most likely to bicker about on Turkey Day.

1. When to eat – Some say the Thanksgiving meal is a midafternoon ritual, allowing plenty of time for kids, cleanup, a turkey-coma nap and snacking on leftovers. Others says it’s more civilized to sit down at 6 or 7 p.m. when the candles are flickering, the wine is flowing and the mood is more festive.

2. What to do before you eat – Whether you’re prepping side dishes in the kitchen or crashed on the couch, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is an annual tradition. But many say they can’t stuff their faces with 4,000 calories without first getting out of the house for a walk, a hike or a game of touch football. Gotta earn that turkey!

3. How to cook the turkey – Well, you roast it in the oven, of course. But wait, what about deep-frying it? Or even cooking it on the grill? Both options free up your oven for other dishes. And Brining?(It makes the meat juicier.) Or no brining? (It makes the skin soggy.) And the vegetarians at your gathering will have other ideas.

4. How to cook the stuffing – Some say you cook the stuffing inside the turkey, where the juices add more flavor. That’s why it’s called stuffing. Others say roasting it separately improves air circulation in the turkey, letting it cook more evenly. And stuffing in a turkey is at risk for being undercooked. We’d rather not poison our guests, thank you.

5. How to cook the potatoes – Some say mash ’em! And don’t skimp on the gravy. But … With roasted garlic? Or without? Others say whipped sweet potatoes, topped with a browned marshmallow crust. Or maybe potato casserole? Scalloped potatoes au gratin? So many tater options — and potential arguments.

6. The cranberry sauce – Some say you make it on the stove from fresh cranberries, orange juice and other ingredients. Others say that’s too much work. The jellied stuff in the can is just fine.

7. Where to seat the kids – Some say everyone should eat together at one large table. It teaches children manners, helps everyone get to know each other and doesn’t make the youngsters feel like second class citizens. Others say children should have their own table where they can be children and not be bored trying to talk to Aunt Myrtle.

8. What to serve for dessert – Some say homemade pumpkin pie with whipped cream on top. Nothing else will do. Others say pecan pie is better. Yet others say neither is as satisfying as a fresh-baked apple or cherry pie with vanilla ice cream. Or maybe pie is boring. Try a pumpkin cheesecake.

9. Can the TV be on during dinner – Some say no way! They want to enjoy the meal and each other’s company without distraction. But if your NFL team is playing, others say it’s OK, as long as the sound is low.

10. Cell phones at the dinner table – Many say no and tell guests to put away the blasted things. But others know, like it or not, the phones have become extensions of our conversations. We use them to show each other pictures, to exchange information and settle arguments.

11. Shopping on Thanksgiving – Some say: Absolutely not! Despite what Macy’s, Best Buy and Walmart say, Thanksgiving Day is NOT for shopping. Then again: Why not get a jump on those Black Friday crowds? By Thanksgiving night, we’re all sick of our relatives anyway.

By Brandon Griggs for CNN