Sitting at my parents’ table feels like nothing’s ever changed. No matter how old I get, I’ll always be their child, and will be treated as such. My siblings also stand the test of time, picking up our roles from the past—along with the bickering from the ‘90s, 2000s, and even yesterday. If you can’t be a guest of someone else’s family this year—or even if you are—here are some tips I have picked up along the way to make it through Thanksgiving as easy as possible. This is a real thing according to CNN, so pay attention; it will save you so many therapy sessions!
• 1:2 ratio friends and family
• 1 wild card guest
• 1 list of topics to avoid
• 1 electric potato peeler
• 1 kitchen playlist
• 1 dining room playlist
• 1 seating chart
• Assorted candles
• Zero-alcohol vodka, wine, tequila, and whiskey
• High-Alcohol vodka, wine, tequila, and whiskey
• Fully stocked charcuterie plate and cheese board
• 3 cans SpaghettiOs (just in case)
- You must have at least one friend seated for every two family members present. This is non-negotiable. No one gets as annoyed by your family as you do, so double pad your table with unassuming guests that will appreciate-slash-absorb the stories you have heard over and over again—like the one about that young man hopelessly smitten with your aunt. (“She was so oblivious; she didn’t know he was the biggest rock star of the day.”) The wild card guest is absolutely a must, and it’s best when they’re someone everyone can agree that they dislike. Nothing brings people together quite like a common enemy.
- Topics to avoid at all costs: religion, politics, cosmetic surgery (no matter how obvious), Ozempic, and, if you’re at my table, kale. My mother, for no clear reason, hates kale so much, you’d think it slept with her husband. It didn’t.
- My electric potato peeler is probably my favorite purchase I made last year. Mesmerizing to watch, it keeps the peel to one long ribbon, which makes it super easy to clean up and fun to fry up for a snack.
- I’ll be in the kitchen with my “play music I like” playlist. That’s just for me, and no one needs to know what’s on it. The playlist for all other guests is linked here. Enjoy.
- I’ve gained a whole new respect for the seating chart ever since the term “middling” was introduced to me. No one ever need be outed as a dud if you place your guests correctly. Please watch Curb Your Enthusiasm season 11 episode 3 for any further questions.
- Candles aren’t just for blackouts. No one over the age of 30 will object to a dinner by candlelight; it’s like having an IRL pretty filter for everyone.
- Replacing the real stuff with zero-proof spirits is a great way to prevent that one family member from going rogue and ranting about the deep state. They won’t even know why they wake up hangover-free the next morning, but you will.
- You don’t have to spend a ton of money on a charcuterie plate or cheese board, just some crackers, salami, prosciutto, olives, butter, and a few cheeses, and no one will be asking when dinner will be ready. Coz it won’t be. No matter how many dress rehearsals you have, the turkey won’t ever be done the same time as everything else. Keep the guests at bay and out of the kitchen.
- Your freezer will definitely run out of ice long before you run out of drinks. Buy a bag at the grocery store.