So, take heed, take heart, and try to avoid as many of these buzz-killing situations as you can.
9. Turkey DUI. Too much triptofan? Friends don't let friends drive stuffed with turkey and all the trimmings. Allow yourself enough time to digest or sleep it off. Have a vegan friend? This could be the holiday to "bond" -- as well as ensure you have a designated driver.
8. Bringing work home on Wednesday night -- especially if you're working on Friday. Take the time to enjoy the day folks. Holidays and special events do not go into syndication or offer us reruns over the Summer. Taking the time to be present is a great way to decompress, make memories, and head back to work with a clearer head.
7. Unnecessary stress. (And this is directed at my sister this year, who has taken on the task of hosting 20+ friends and relatives at her home. I can only shake my head in bewilderment). Ask everyone to kick in a favorite dish (just give 'em plenty of notice) or have it catered (even better!) Farm out the house cleaning -- either as chores for family members or splurge on a cleaning professional. Last, but not least, whatever you can do in advance, do it. Nobody has fun if the host(ess) isn't having fun.
6. Bored children. I never understood how a parent can pack his/her kids in a car, haul them to an event dominated by adults, and never give a thought to what the kids are going to do when they get there. Yet, I always seemed to be the only member of my posse who arrived at events with a tote bag full of "anti-boredom devices." Could it be possible that they actually don't hear the whining, the tantrums and the nagging: "Can we go yet ... ?" or incessant reminders that "I'm booorrrrrred .... "? Prepare for The Oblivious! A trip to the dollar store will net you coloring books, crayons, puzzles, action figures -- you name it. And don't forget to reserve a TV for screening kid movies. If the children are happy, the adults will be more relaxed and good times will ensue.
5. A "healthy" Thanksgiving feast. (This is, perhaps, an oxymoron). Do NOT unilaterally try to make this year's Thanksgiving menu a low-cal, high-fiber exercise in self-discipline. Your guests will turn on you like a pack of wild [and possibly rabid] dogs. While the food is not really the point of this holiday, it is a tradition, so rein in your need for asceticism and let the calories fall where they may!
4. Work-related mobile phone calls [and texting]. Then, the first time you see another guest take a call on business (there will be at least one), rejoice that the rolling eyes and clicking tongues are not directed at you. Revel in the moment! Join in! And be thankful it wasn't you.
3. Breaking out the brand new, never-been-used Turkey Fryer for the first time on Thanksgiving Day. It's not that it's a difficult way to cook a turkey, but there's so much that can go wrong for the uninitiated that we beg you to stick with what you know, or keep the number of (A) your local fire department, and (B) the closest open Chinese restaurant handy.
2. Brining the turkey in the garage. We've all done it. And we've all found ourselves sneaking around to quietly hose off the bird after it's slipped out of our hands, skid across the floor, and avoided capture by sliding around the the garage until it's picked up enough crud that becomes easier to grasp. Wine is a mixed blessing in these situations. On the one hand, it will increase the likelihood that you too will be secretly rinsing your turkey in the bathtub; on the other hand, it's much funnier when it does happen.
1. Cynicism. What can be wrong with a nationally observed day devoted to GRATITUDE? No matter how bad the past 12 months have been, if you let yourself consciously consider for a moment or two, you will find more to be thankful for than you might have imagined. And you will be better off for your efforts.
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us to all of you -- because we're grateful you're out there.