How do you typically spend your Thanksgiving? Do you spend it at a very picturesque dinner with your family, catching up while taking scrumptious bites of home-cooked family recipes? Do you spend it just with your immediate family, grabbing a pizza while playing a game of charades that seems to get more competitive as the years go on? Do you spend it at a ‘friends-giving’ of sorts, where it’s a potluck and everyone brings their own favorite dish or dessert?
Where and how you choose to spend your holidays can say a lot about you. Thanksgiving in particular can say a lot about your personality and relationships since it is a holiday that centers around togetherness, food, and family. It can give your readers or even you those same new insights about your characters.
For example, let’s say one year a character elects to go see friends instead of going to their Aunt’s like they normally do at Thanksgiving. This could indicate that they may have a strained relationship with their family right now and that may make a friend dinner have higher stakes and pressure for a fun evening.
On the other hand, perhaps the character just generally has a super combative family. Thanksgiving, then, becomes the perfect setting to bring them together and show all of the different relationships at play and how your character relates or feels about each of them individually. Your protagonist’s extended family may not even be a part of your story or your outline, but exploring a scene like this could unlock an interesting dynamic that may be worth including in your manuscript.
Writing Prompt: Pick a particularly eventful thanksgiving in your protagonist’s life. It could be a year when they were a child or a year that will take place during the events of your story. How does your protagonist spend the holiday? What family members or friends are present and what is the nature of their relationship with your protagonist? What events take place over the course of the evening? What interesting conversations are overheard or which games are played or what does your protagonist learn when catching up with their extended relatives?