It’s my favorite and most loathsome time of the year. I’m going to assume I am not the only person on the planet who feels this way. I love eating turkey and cranberry sauce and I detest getting my house ready to entertain. I’m no Martha Stewart, which is good because I’m now clear on the fact that she doesn’t want my kind in her realm. Perhaps the new phrase should be I’m no Rachel Ray or I’m no Pioneer Woman. And it is true that I am not.
I spent Thanksgiving Day during my childhood being fed and pampered by my Grandma Robertson. She decorated every surface with hand painted tablecloths, turkey shakers and glass butter dishes. It was easy to love Turkey Day because my responsibility began and ended with eating, laughing and napping. On the last Thursday of November, we would pile into our family car, drive fifty minutes to my grandparent’s farm and when we entered their absurdly small home, the aroma of rolls and love overwhelmed our every sense. I don’t know how she made it look so easy, but my grandma cooked and cleaned for 25-50 people every single year depending on how big her family was at the time.
I am no Grandma Robertson, either. The sense of panic I feel in regards to entertaining is equivalent to how I feel every time I board a plane and I have convinced myself its going down in flames. My stomach is in knots, I can’t breathe and I’m gripping my chair for fear I won’t survive. If you feel just as neurotic about having your family over on Thanksgiving, I would like to suggest a new way to handle your crowd of drooling, tryptophan induced zombies.
-Drink Wine. This should go without saying; however I need to say it because I know all you Type A folks will be so busy making wreaths and tacky centerpieces on Thanksgiving Day, that you may forget that without a couple glasses of wine, you are a nightmare to deal with. No one enjoys you following them around with a Clorox wipe or vacuuming under the table as soon as they break bread. Do yourself and everyone else a favor, drink early and frequently. It will also make for some interesting conversations with your in-laws.
-Eat Aunt Ellen’s Scary Salad. You may be wondering why I would suggest such an absurd method to feeding the masses, but hear me out. The more inedible side dishes you have brought in by other people, the less cooking you are responsible for. Not only is it a time saver, but you will be so ill that all those calories will be flushed out within a few hours of consuming them. You should probably invest in some really nice toilet paper, as well.
-Steal Food. Am I suggesting you walk into Whole Foods and put a bottle of cranberry sauce in your bra? Well, no, but I’m not going to stop you either. I’m offering up a suggestion to make the dinner at your house easier by lifting food from the other turkey dinners you attend. On Thanksgiving day, we eat at my mom’s house first and then I entertain my in-laws later in the day. I steal extra sides, rolls and anything else that hasn’t been sneezed on and serve it as my own. Judge away you snarky bitches, but I find a lot more time to drink that wine we spoke about earlier.
-Don’t Get Pretty. I’ve spent an embarrassing amount of time straightening my hair and putting on nylons for Thanksgiving, only to end up with gravy in my armpit or stuffing stuck to my black shift dress. What’s the point? Spend those extra 60 minutes taking a nap and entertain your guests in a favorite pair of yoga pants. When they ask why you look sweaty and gross, you can tell them you ran a 10K before graciously hosting them at your house. In reality, you did.
-Hire A Housekeeper, Before And After. My sister owns a cleaning company and this is her busy season. Why? Because rich people know what the rest of us should really learn; cleaning your house before guests and mopping up after them is a nightmare. Inevitably, your mother-in-law is going to pull out the white glove and run it over the mantel, especially when she sees you in yoga pants. Don’t let her shame you like that. Most cleaning companies charge $25-$40 per hour and you probably don’t need more than a couple hours of deep cleaning. Redirect the money you were going to spend on fancy napkins, let your guests use paper towels and hire someone else to wipe up Uncle Harold’s urine off the bathroom wall. Bonus on this tip, more time to drink that wine.
-Enlist Your Kids To Decorate. Everyone knows you have kids; you are endlessly shaming them on Instagram with photos of them nude, learning how to use a potty. Redeem yourself by letting them color turkey beaks, glue feathers to Matchbox cars and making your centerpieces interesting for Thanksgiving dinner. Included in this tip is the thought that your kids should also set the tables. There is nothing more entertaining than watching your cousin attempt to eat every course with a grapefruit spoon and taking bets on how many hours it will take someone to find a butter knife. If Thanksgiving is about giving thanks, show your kids how much gratitude you have for them by giving up control and allowing their creativity to shine. Again, you are drinking wine during this process.
If you have any other funny, inappropriate or real tips for entertaining this holiday season, I am all ears. My yoga pants and I need all the help we can get.
Mandy Brasher has been married to her partner in crime for thirteen years and together they have two kids. She graduated from The Utah College of Massage Therapy and spent two years studying writing at Utah State University. She is currently working with her husband at their online apparel business, blogging daily and writing a book. Mandy loves to travel, cook, do yoga and read. Follow her sass mouth and unexpected adventures.