Skip to content

4 Things You Did Wrong as a Thanksgiving Guest

Matthew Ramos (1L)

Matt, Thanksgiving Day is already over; why do I need your advice? First off, you’ve already started to read my article so you’re basically committed. Second, if you’re still calling it Thanksgiving Day, then I know you have already made a fatal error; this is not a ‘day,’ it is an EVENT. That’s right, an event that serves as the annual Hunger Games (pun intended) competition that separates the regular Thanksgiving background guests from a newly crowned “this guy is definitely invited to Christmas” champ.

Didn’t receive your early Christmas invite? Let me tell you what you did wrong as a Thanksgiving guest.


Mistake #1: You did not bring any food.

It’s ThanksGIVING, not ThanksTAKING, jerk. When the host assures you that ‘your presence is the only thing required,’ they might as well be your girlfriend telling you that ‘everything is fine.’ This is the classic trap, and your response in both situations should always be, “I don’t think so! I’m bringing you a surprise!”


Mistake #2: You did not put any effort in the food you brought.

Although making the effort to pick something up is great, it pales in comparison to picking something up and pretending you made it. That’s early-Christmas-invite-great. Realistically, when the host slaves away for the entire day (rhyme intended), they’re often irrational, moody, and feel much better when they know someone else has also made the effort to cook. That’s why it’s a good idea to pick up your “baked goods” from the local farmer’s market or planet organic store, where you’re less likely to be accused of food plagiarism. (When people ask what you put in the planet organic pumpkin cookies reply with: “a little love.”)


Mistake #3: You only thought about food when you arrived.

I know you’re excited about the prospect of turning your five dollar contraband into five hundred dollars’ worth of food in your greedy stomach, but slow down! Remind yourself that these are genuine people with real feelings. And, if you hurt these feelings, you’ve missed the entire point of Thanksgiving: be nice enough to people, so they offer you their delicious food. Meaning, you have to walk into their home and play the game: compliment them on the terrible colour scheme they picked for the walls, fake-enjoy their annoying dog trying to hump your leg, and even say that monstrosity in the corner of the room from their garbage-turned-art phase is “pretty neat.” FYI, I can totally see you guys hanging ornaments on that Christmas tree right now.


Mistake #4: You got out Mother-Goosed.

Congratulations! You made it to the Thanksgiving table and are consuming some well-deserved food. However, you’re now contending with a self-proclaimed action hero telling a ‘courageous’ story about the time he saved little Timmy from a burning building: “I told Timmy I was going to rescue him and yelled at the firemen to ‘back off bro, I got this.’ I, then, threw Timmy over my shoulders and, instead of using the front door, I jumped through a window because it was super cool… even though Timmy suffered some injuries and was crying, the entire situation was super awesome.” Pops collar. You’re losing the attention of the table, and dreams of wearing a tacky sweater in the middle of a crazy Christmas party are slowly being replaced with Mr. Dreamy’s laughing face. What do you do?

The easy solution is to fabricate a story of how you saved two little Timmys from a burning building but, as a clever law student, you instead explain why his actions have amounted to negligence. More specifically, you explain that when he announced, “I am here to rescue you,” he established a legal duty of care. Next, when he hoisted little Timmy over his shoulders and opted to jump through a window, instead of using the front door (which was completely safe), he demonstrated a subpar objective standard of care that would make the ‘reasonable person’ facepalm. Finally, Mr. Dreamy’s actions fail the ‘but-for test’ demonstrating causation, ultimately leading to poor Timmy’s injuries (both physical and mental).

Sure enough, the EPS shows up and takes Mr. Dreamy away. Pat yourself on the back, you just guaranteed your golden ticket to Christmas (which is like Thanksgiving EVENT, but with presents)!

Hopefully, you realize that the writing above is just my haphazard attempt at comedy and should not be taken too seriously (except for that negligence part, according to Professor Ubaka Ogbogu, negligence is serious business).

In closing, my sincerest wish is that, in the fading spirit of Thanksgiving EVENT, this article has given you a laugh, smile, and a pause from the regular law school grind. Hopefully, the Thanksgiving break gave you time to appreciate your amazing family, friends, and opportunities open to you with a University of Alberta legal education. I would say we’re lucky, but the truth is we’re all skilled/good enough to deserve an early Christmas party invite.  

Until we meet again, make good decisions.