2. Your attire selection is of utmost importance. It is perfectly acceptable to wear your dad jeans with the elastic waistband at Thanksgiving, or make a trip to the storage unit for your old maternity pants. Thanksgiving is not a time to be a fashionista, it's a time to go HAM and give your food-pit a proper beating. I'm not saying you should look like a slob, but underneath your nice blouse or sweater vest, you can be hiding the most heinous of strechy waist-band pants. For goodness sake, you're about to be carrying a 10-lb food baby, give that puppy room to grow!
3. Portion control - no bigger than a golf ball! Don't make the rookie mistake of stocking up on mashed potatoes, turkey and stuffing and then realize that you still have 10 more things to add to your plate but only 2 sq. inches of space left. Stick to the golf ball rule, everything on your plate should be a portion no larger than a golf ball. I mean, I know green beans aren't the star of Thanksgiving but you owe it to yourself (and your host) to try a little of everything! After you finish your first plate of food go back for the things you loved and throw the golf ball rule out the window.
4. Lend a helping hand in your own way. We're not all master chefs, and that's okay. If you have no place in a kitchen, stay out of the kitchen. In fact, I advise everyone stay out of the kitchen except the host until clean up time (otherwise you're just going to get in the way.) But, you can still offer a helping hand in other ways -- offer to bring ice or pies from your neighborhood bakery, play bartender, help to clear plates after the meal, buy a flower arrangement or nice candle for your host. Just don't be a waste of space.
5. Adhere to a schedule. You might have a few different obligations on Thanksgiving. You may have to spend some time with the in-laws, eat dinner with your own family, and potentially drop by to see some old friends that are in town for the holiday... make a schedule for your day and stick to it like an Army Ranger on a special ops mission. My schedule will go something like this (I'm still ironing out some of the details)
- 9:00 a.m. - arise to the aroma of herbs and turkey in the air
- 9:30 a.m. - indulge in a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast - consider eating a piece of fruit but go back for more bacon instead. (see tip 1 above)
- 10:00 a.m. - watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV while helping to prep food
- 12:00 p.m. - watch the beginning of The National Dog Show and pick out your favorite dog, continue to help mom prep appetizers and sides
- 12:30 p.m. - shower and put on real clothes (see tip 2 above)
- 1:50 p.m. - catch end of dog show, see if your dog won.
- 2:00 p.m. - drive to in-laws' house (limit yourself to 3-4 bites of appetizers, nothing enters your "pie hole" at in-laws after 3:00 p.m.)
- 3:30 p.m. - head back to parent's house, call and make sure they don't have any last minute grocery/errand needs
- 4:00 p.m. - indulge in some more appetizers
- 4:45 p.m. - help to put out food and get everyone seated, say grace and go around the table so everyone can share what they are thankful for
- 5:00 p.m. - begin to load up first plate of 2014 Thanksgiving meal (see tip 3 above)
- 5:20 p.m. - think about going back for seconds - pick one or two things you really want just a little more of and put them on your plate (panic because you realize you might not have room for dessert if you eat any more mashed potatoes but say, "eff it, I'll throw up if needed to make room for pie)
- 5:30 p.m. - enjoy the silence at the table and the sound of loosening belts
- 5:45 p.m. - remark how crazy it is that you cook for two full days but manage to eat in less than an hour
- 5:50 p.m. - help to clear the table and set out dessert.
- 6:00 p.m. - eat dessert
- 6:10 p.m. - men exit table and plop on the couch to watch football - women chit-chat and then clear rest of the table and start to clean up kitchen
- 6:30 p.m. - uncle starts snoring loudly while sitting on couch
- 7:00 p.m. - guests start to exit, you finally snag a seat on the couch
- 8:00 p.m. - change into pajamas
- 8:05 p.m. - pull out a game to play with family
- 9:00 p.m. - go to bed
6. Remember the big picture. Thanksgiving is a time for reflection and expression of gratitude. I know it can be stressful to be around your crazy family. I know your mom is bugging out because so and so is bringing a date and didn't tell her until the last minute and there's no room at the table. Just remember, no matter your life situation, you're luckier and more blessed than someone else out there. You have food to eat, a roof over your head, friends/family/acquaintances/frenemies to eat with. Hell, I think you're doing pretty good. Let Thanksgiving set the stage for your holiday season, keep your composure and try to stay worry-free and most importantly, thankful!
Happy Thanksgiving homies!