1. Count your blessings. Give thanks, yall!
While school is invariably more fun than home, there are a lot of fun things that you can’t do at school that you can do at home. You can stay in your room all day and not feel like you’re missing anything! You can start watching that new TV series that you’ve been afraid to get hooked on (actually, don’t do that now. Finals happen right after Thanksgiving for most people. Do not forget this. You can start watching Game of Thrones over winter break). At school, leaving your house without telling anyone where you’re going isn’t nearly as fun as it can be at home. Drama! Intrigue!
2. Define your boundaries within your first 24 hours at home.
Thanksgiving is probably your first visit home since the school year started. Your parents will be surprised to discover that you are somewhat different now. Make it as obvious as possible, so that they do not forget. Start wearing really thick eyeliner, and carry Foucault’s The History of Sexuality with you wherever you go. Bonus points if you use a condom wrapper as a bookmark.
Then, every time some family member does something that you don’t find acceptable, politely tell them so. Teach your dad about “I statements.” Tell your mom that her comments on the Petraeus scandal are a little too slut-shame-y for you to feel comfortable. Soon they’ll be afraid to say anything around you, which is pretty okay really.
3. Rid your mind of food-related weirdness.
Prepare, mentally, to eat a lot of really tasty food in a short period of time. Do whatever you need to do to deal with this inevitability. (For more on this point, read my article over at College Fashion!)
On a related note, make sure everyone knows how absurdly inappropriate it would be to comment on the general size and shape of your body. For some reason, a lot of families seem to think this is okay. Tell me, can you imagine walking up to your Aunt Susie and saying, “Oh my, you’re looking so… healthy! Going to a lot of parties lately? Drinking a lot of beer?” No, because that would be rude and horrible. Think about it.
4. Make plans with high school friends, but only the ones you like.
Look, we all make friends with a lot of people in high school who just aren’t our type. If the two of you have the same lunch period and both play strings, what more could you need? Wrong. Freshman year, you probably don’t know this yet, but anyone older than this, don’t stress yourself out by making plans with people you’re not close to anymore, especially if you don’t miss them at all (which is how I feel about many of the people I went to high school with. This is not to say that I dislike any of them, because I really don’t! I just haven’t thought about them in forever and don’t feel bad about it).
(Luckily I get to skip this part anyway because I’m spending the holiday out of the country. Enjoy that social gauntlet, suckahhhs)
5. Make plans with college friends to get really really drunk when you get home.
It’s nice to have something to look forward to.
Also, call your campus “home” in front of your mother and see what she does.