Next Thursday is Thanksgiving, a holiday where you eat a lot and fight with your relatives about politics, which used to be stressful, but NOW?! I used to be manageably annoyed at the old folks who liked Ted Cruz and wanted to go back to simpler times when you could go to a movie for a nickel. But I cannot be manageably annoyed at old folks who voted Trump and want to go back to a time when we were locking people up in Japanese Internment camps. So excuse me, but I’m going in on Thursday. If you don’t understand how horrifying Mike Pence’s stance on gay conversion is, then I hope nobody wants to electro-shock you for things you can’t change about yourself, like how you go to The View for real news. You old white turkey bird.
But, there’s still Friendsgiving to be had—whether you have a gathering of friends before or after the Thursday holiday, it’s still a time to eat some mashed potatoes with people you don’t want to drown in gravy because they ask you to give Steve Bannon a chance. Friendsgiving is a time we can all be comforted in our like-minded beliefs, or just get drunk so we don’t have to feel so alone about our wacky families. There seems to be a lot riding on this Friendsgiving this year and most of it seems to be our sanity. Here’s how to make this one the best one:
1. . Bring Something You Won't Eat On Thanksgiving
Here’s my one real criticism of Friendsgiving. Thanksgiving has delicious food that you eat once a year, so to indulge in the same meal two days in one week seems kind of silly. You just had all those mashed potatoes. You are going home in two days to eat all that stuffing. So here’s my idea. Don’t bring mashed potatoes or candied yams. Bring buffalo chicken dip or jalapeño poppers or loaded nachos and offer your friends something else that is decadent and delicious but you won’t eat twice in a row. There’s only so many jiggly cranberry circles I can eat in one week, and I prefer my mom's cornbread stuffing to the Stovetop my friend Carl will bring. So consider asking everybody to bring delicious food they wish was at their Thanksgiving table, and then host a Thanksgiving dinner in March when everybody starts craving that food again.
2. . Or At Least Bring Something Ready-Made
The worst part about Friendsgiving is going to a party with a dish that needs to be heated up and having to wait your turn to get it done. Your friend lives in an apartment with roommates. She has a tiny oven. She has no time to prioritize your green bean casserole. So you wait 45 minutes, have a few drinks, and forget how long you are supposed to cook it for because apple cider and whiskey. You raise the heat and hope that it will cook in 20 minutes because half the dishes are already out. It burns. Everybody’s full anyway. Just bring a salad or some cookies and let the crazy people fight for a spot on the top rack.
3. . Don't Try To Roast A Turkey
Oh for the love of potatoes. You are not a Master Chef. Leave the damn turkey roasting to your mom or uncle. Nobody really likes the turkey that much anyway, and if you do, why don’t YOU just bring the already pre-made slices at Trader Joe’s or something and eat it like a cat in the corner. Nobody has time to brine and cook a 6-hour bird that nobody is going to touch. Everybody wants the mac and cheese and not the dry turkey you are in no way skillful enough to cook. Make some more side dishes instead and save yourself the 50 bucks. Also, this is a drinking holiday---so for the love of your face and skin do not try to fry the bird.
4. . You Don't Have To Give Thanks
We don’t need this. We do not need an indulgent round table where everybody is bursting with food and alcoholic cranberry juice and love. We get it—you’re thankful for your health and your friends and that you’re white in Trump’s America or whatever. But listening to this for forty-five minutes while you just want another drink is like watching somebody unwrap gifts at a baby shower: you only want to be attentive to yours. So save it and find two alternatives: have everybody write their thanks down on a big piece of white board, or have one person who is good at speaking do a toast which sums up the highs/lows of the friend group that year. We all know each other. Talk amongst yourselves about what you feel good about this year.
5. . Let This Be The Stress-Free Holiday You Deserve
If you’re stressed about Thanksgiving, take away all the things about it that stress you out and leave them at home. Make it a time to enjoy food and friendships. Don’t get into politics if you don’t want to, or get into them if you need to talk about it. Cook if it makes you happy, and buy a pie if that makes it easier. Just enjoy it, and relax, and have a good time.