20 years or so ago, Thanksgiving officially surpassed Christmas as my favorite holiday. Because that's around the time "food" finally surpassed "new wallets and sweaters from The Gap" on my importance scale.
Anyway, if you don't want to ruin it for everyone, here's what not to do.
1. Undercook the turkey
Unlike other family gatherings where food is involved — Memorial Day BBQs, Juneteenth Clam Bakes, etc — the turkey acts as a singular fulcrum. Your 4th of July won't be ruined if someone allowed their pug to shit on all the hot dogs, because there's still steak and burgers and shit. But, although there will be other meats on the Thanksgiving table, the turkey is the main attraction. The Beyonce. And when its ruined, everything is ruined by default.
Also, you don't want to serve people bloody Beyonce and have everyone leave with tongue gout.
2. Say the food will be ready at 4…and have it not ready until 7:46
If you're like me, you starve yourself the morning of Thanksgiving. Because there's no point in eating my customary hotcakes and shrimp if I'll need all that room in my belly for 3 o'clock. Which is why you can't be fucking with people's emotions and hunger pains by making us wait for hours — sitting in front of a TV watching Hitch and eating honey roasted peanuts and olives and shit — because your bitch ass still don't know how long it takes to smoke a ham.
3. Argue with your crazy as fuck family members
Look, we all know Aunt Ann has been batshit her entire life. She sprays OFF! indoors and her car has no rearview mirrors. So what good does it really do to confront her when she makes an offhand comment at dinner about Spanx and homosexual geese? You're only going to see her once this year, so just shake your head and hide her OFF! when she's not looking.
(Editor's note: This was written a year before Donald Trump became President. And, if you have a batshit family member who actually voted for Trump, please argue.)
4. Bring some offbrand significant other
5. Be pissed that you, a person still in offbrand significant other status, did not get invited to your new beau's family Thanksgiving dinner
Of these two, the latter is probably — no, definitely — the worst. Because if you haven't been seeing each other long enough for people to ask him "Where's Kim?" when you're not there, you need to be eating dinner with your own offbrand-ass family. And no, Thanksgiving doesn't count as a dinner date.
6. Come unannounced
Because, remember, this isn't a cookout. You can't just find a cooler or a pleasant Delta to sit on. Houses have space limitations. And silverware limitations. And you come without telling anyone, you will be sent to sit at the backgammon table, and you will be given a spork and a chopstick to eat with.
7. Bring people who clearly were not invited
If everyone in your house received an invitation — except for Uncle Ralph — it's probably a sign that Uncle Ralph needs to stay his ass at house. Because Uncle Ralph is a thief whose Polaroid is on the fridge at Grandma's house because the last time he came over for Thanksgiving, he somehow stole a box of Cheetos and the entire fireplace.
8. Be a vegan
Just no. Just stay home. Or go spelunking or deer racing whatever the fuck else vegans do when everyone else is eating and enjoying meat. But don't come over and annoy everyone with your pretentious ass plate of seventeen peas and a tablespoon of seltzer water.
9. Annoy anyone with your Black Friday plans
Black Friday shoppers are like Fantasy Football players. Because the only people who give a shit about the $446 flatscreens at BestBuy and Heath Miller's ypc after contact are 1. other Black Friday shoppers and Fantasy Football players and 2. Kappas.
That's the end of the list.
10. Bring your own food
Again, you have to remember that this isn't a cookout. And cookout dynamics allow you to bring food other than the food being prepared to eat yourself. You're still an ass when you do this. But it's permitable. But don't think that shits going to fly when you walk up in someone's mother's or grandmother's house — after they've been slaving away since like Tuesday — with your own meat and vegetables because "your stomach doesn't agree with most food." Because you and your bitch-ass bag of couscous will either get a yam forced into your mouth or a foot forced into your ass when you're kicked out.