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8 Thanksgiving Flowcharts

Holidays, especially traditional family holidays, come loaded with many decisions to make. Luckily, flowcharts give us a geeky shortcut to making those decisions. Here are eight that pertain specifically to how you handle Thanksgiving.

1. Making Your Plans

What are you doing for Thanksgiving this year? It might be a little late to book a flight to Vegas, but that is one of your options for next year. Otherwise, you can go home to Mom and Dad, host your own dinner, or get invited to someone else's home, but once those decisions are made, there are other things to consider. This handy flowchart from The Houston Press can help you make those important decisions about how to spend your holiday.

2. What to Bring?

What should you bring to the Thanksgiving feast? This flowchart from Chow breaks it down by your abilities, means, and personality. This one is geared toward younger people, so whatever you bring, no one will be surprised.

3. No Really, What to Bring?

If you've dealt with the conundrum of what to take to someone else's feast a few times before, you may have more luck with V.V. Denman's Thanksgiving Menu Flowchart. It's labeled as "simplified," but it is not simple. Only a portion is shown here, but you can rest assured that if you are a college student going to Mom's house, it's okay to just bring your laundry.

4. Where to Sit?

Once you arrive at Grandma's house (or wherever), you'll be told where you are supposed to sit. A flowchart from College Humor will clue you in so there are no surprises. Only the beginning is shown here. Wherever you are assigned, there will be problems, but at least you'll be prepared for them.

5. How Should I Prepare Turkey?

Or maybe you're hosting Thanksgiving dinner at your house this year. What to do with the turkey? Should you buy a frozen, organic, free-range, or kosher turkey? Should you marinate or rub it? Should you grill, fry, or roast it? Whew, how do you know which way to go? The answers lie in a flowchart at the New York Times, which will take you through each decision step-by-step. The answers depend on your tastes, your desired result, and what you are willing to do to make your turkey special.

6. Impressive Dinner Conversation

Dinner table talk may turn to current events, including the scandal involving former CIA director David Petraeus. You don't want to be caught totally confused, so you might want to brush up on who's who in the story before you say something dumb. With the brief overview of knowledge contained in a flowchart by Hilary Sargent, you'll know more than most of the people you're eating with. Probably all of them. Yes, it is small and involved, but you can enlarge it here.

7. What to do After Dinner

Let's say you are home from college. You can only take so much family togetherness, so after dinner you are considering changing the pace. A flowchart from College Humor helps you decide what to do next. Consider carefully.

8. High School Heartbreaker

If you decide to go out on the town, you might be confronted with decisions you've never faced before. For example, what if you run into your old high school crush at a bar? You're an adult now, how do you handle it? A flowchart from Ask Men gives you the answers. Follow the logic on the entire chart.

There, that was easy, wasn't it? Make the rest of the decisions in your life with the help of other flowcharts we've posted.

9 Flowcharts to Help You Navigate the Christmas Season

Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year, and all the other winter holidays are times of tradition, when we continue to celebrate in the manner of years past. But some modern situations call for decisions that tradition doesn’t cover. That’s why we have flowcharts! Here are some that pertain to the unique conundrums that arise this time of year.

1. WHO TO VISIT FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Will you be spending Christmas with your parents or your in-laws? This is a decision you should make with your significant other, but it doesn't have to turn into a tug-of-war. Just produce this flowchart from She Knows to bolster your reasons for visiting the family with the least drama.

2. WHO TO BUY CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR

The holidays would certainly be less stressful if we were to do away with the tradition of buying gifts for adults (other than maybe homemade food or a nice box of candy). But social obligations live on. Still, you don’t have to buy everyone a gift, especially when you're on a limited budget. Read the rest of this flowchart from College Humor, which will help you make your decision.   

3. SHOULD YOU GET A GIFT FOR SOMEONE YOU ARE SEEING?

That may be a simple question, but the answer might be quite complicated. A flowchart from The Date Report can help you to consider how far along the relationship is and whether a Christmas gift would be proper at this time or not.  

4. GIFT SUGGESTIONS FOR YOURSELF

When a close family member asks you what you want for Christmas, it’s OK to be honest. Just keep in mind that you're more likely to get your wish fulfilled if you keep it within the giver’s budget. This flowchart from 1500 Days to Freedom illustrates that well. (A second flowchart in the same post explains the recurring nightmare of intergenerational conflict in his/her family—something we're all likely familiar with.)  

5. SHOPPING FOR GIFTS

Major retailers often release flowcharts to help you decide what to give people for Christmas, which all end in gifts they sell. This one, targeted to men, is from the Milwaukee Brewers. The entire chart is huge. The flowchart is complicated, but no matter who you're shopping for, the perfect gift is a Holiday 4-Pack. I would have at least suggested splurging on a whole 6-pack.

6. SIMPLE HOLIDAY SMARTPHONE ETIQUETTE

Most of the time, your phone is attached to your hand—but when you're with the family for holiday togetherness, you're sure to get a few snarky comments from relatives if you're using it all the time. Still, there are some situations that make phone use appropriate, so Shane Snow created a flowchart to help you navigate each possible scenario.  

7. CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

You should have your Christmas lights up by now. Why don’t you? Are they not working? Are you putting off the annual testing regimen? Terry Ritter put up an entire website to help you troubleshoot Christmas lights 10 years ago. His flowcharts will take you through the process of testing your lights before you hang them. Or you can simplify things by simply plugging them in and throwing away the strings that don’t work.

8. WHICH CHRISTMAS MOVIE TO WATCH

There are an awful lot of classic Christmas movies—some you may have even forgotten about. There’s one to fit your interests for every situation and every mood. You can determine which movie fits yours with this handy chart from College Humor. See the rest of the chart to select your movie.

9. WHAT TO DO ON CHRISTMAS EVE

Let's wrap up Christmas with a flowchart that’s been around forever, but is still enjoyable. After all, who wants to miss a step that may lead to seeing a jolly old elf, so you can laugh when you see him in spite of yourself? If you have trouble reading it, see a larger version here.

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9 Flowcharts for Maximum Non-Productivity

Flowcharts long ago escaped the world of engineering and have run rampant across all topics. The best ones are either useful or funny, and sometimes they can be both. Here’s a roundup of flowcharts that may help you out or at least entertain you for a while. But the first, and most important question is:

1. Do You Like Flowcharts?

Randall Munroe at xkcd presents us with a flowchart to determine what kind of chart or graph you prefer. And he then attempts to give you what you want, in one way or another. But as you and I know, there’s no pleasing some people. The arrow at the bottom points to the “random” button at the website. Which ought to please anyone.

2. Should You Buy an Apple Watch?

No, this isn’t an ad from Apple, because if it were, all decision paths would flow toward “yes,” except the one about having no money. This is from Funny or Die, where you can see the full chart.

3. Is It Paleo?

The Paleo Diet Flowchart will help you recognize foods you can eat on the Paleo Diet. I’ve probably learned more about that diet from this flowchart than from any other source, since I’m not all that interested in diets outside of what my kids eat. It was drawn by Cole Bradburn, based on an earlier flowchart by Nicole Voelzke that you can see at the same link.

4. Should You Put Coffee In Your Face Right Now?

Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal made a flowchart for the website I Love Coffee. It makes the simple decision of whether to have a cup of coffee into a convoluted quiz involving tigers, bran muffins, and revolution. See the rest of it here. Me? Unless it’s bedtime, I just skip to “Yes.” Tea is for bedtime.

5. How to Talk About the Economy

Zach Weiner at Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal created a flowchart about how to address the subject of the economy, if you are a politician, in which case it matters, or a media personality, in which case it only matters how you spin it.  

6. How to Not Be a Bullying Mob

Internet shaming is a hot topic these days. In the quest for justice over those who do are exposed on the internet as doing something offensive or mean, the backlash can be exponentially worse. By joining in on the pile-on, you may find yourself being part of the bullying experience yourself. A flowchart by Andrea Phillips can help you to stop and think before you comment or take some other action against a person you don’t know. This illustration is only a portion of the full chart, which you can enlarge at the link.

7. Should You Do the Dishes?

If you were to ask me, that’s an easy question to answer. I’m a mom. The answer is “Yes!” But this flowchart is from College Humor, so it is not aimed at me, but at young adults who moved away from their families in order to avoid doing dishes. Or attend college, but that’s splitting hairs. If there’s any chance in hell you can avoid the dishes for a while longer, you will. The rest of this tall flowchart is at the highlighted link.  

8. Hey Jude

Sarah Emerson used a flowchart not to make a decision, but to explore the structure of the song “Hey Jude.” It works elegantly well, especially with the infinite loop at the end, and is also available as an art print

9. Putting It Off Until Later

The Procrastination Flowchart is at least seven years old, and the original is impossible to find, as various cited sources no longer exist. Yet we still procrastinate. What you see here is just the starting point, which is in the middle of the chart, because there are so many paths to procrastination that they wander all around the chart. By the time you finish with the entire chart, the deadline you are avoiding will be passed.

Make the rest of the decisions in your life with the help of other flowcharts we've posted. And see more graph humor of all kinds. 

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