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How to win at Friendsgiving

Chef, entrepreneur, baker, reluctant cupcake master, cookbook author, humorist/memoirist/essayist (writer), public speaker, raconteur, wife, mother,

Tips for making the most of celebrating Thanksgiving with your chosen family

The holidays are the best time of the year, so why not try to get as much mileage out of them as you possibly can? Friendsgiving is a time to celebrate with the family you’ve chosen — and an excuse to sneak a bit more merriment into the season. Here are some tips to embrace this new American tradition and make precious memories that you’ll hold onto for the rest of your life.*

More: 25 turkey FAILS that will make you rethink your Thanksgiving menu plan

Change the menu

There is no reason for you to bring a tried and true stalwart like your grandma’s famous green bean casserole. A) You’ll probably be eating that at regular Thanksgiving. B) it will remind you about how your grandma is racist and you don’t think you can brush that off as “adorable” anymore. And C) Friendsgiving is a made-up holiday, so there are no rules!

Think of it less like Thanksgiving and more like the feast to end all feasts. Replace bland roasted turkey with a fancy-schmancy prime rib — though that could bring up the whole controversy about how Trump eats his beef well done like a rube on crazy pills. Maybe a whole poached salmon — though that will likely bring up the topic of the state of our oceans and how climate change is accelerating.

Maybe we just skip it all and go straight to pie.

Order all the pies

You shouldn’t have to choose between apple, pumpkin and pecan. You shouldn’t have to resign yourself to a mere wee sliver, splitting a pie with a tableful of people who have also been downing two sleeves of Oreos a day since Nov. 9 just to get them through another day of haunting dread and abject despair. Come clean and admit you’ve been self-medicating with sweets and let others come out to you as well, like a reverse intervention. Order one for everyone and serve with large wooden spoons and personal cans of whipped cream.

Conversation cards

Friendsgiving topics of conversation will revolve around the following:

  • The election
  • How to deal with your family after the election
  • Racism
  • Wondering how you’ll survive in wars ahead
  • Obamacare
  • More racism

We are entering the Dark Ages for small talk and jovial banter. You will be left begging for the days where you had to listen to your friends prattle on about real estate or their boring-ass babies.

Editor's note: Seriously, though, the organization SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) has created a Holiday Hotline that will help you talk through tough conversations with family and friends. Just text SOS to 82623.

If you plan ahead, you can save everyone momentarily from the pit of despair they have dwelled in for the last two weeks. Put together a deck of index cards with interesting topics written on them and keep them face down in the center of the table. Whenever the specter of reality begins to creep in, pull up one of these gems and let the good times roll.

  • Birds: How much do they really know?
  • What do you believe is the correct length for a pair of men’s shorts?
  • Anyone remember Jackée? From 227? Was she something else or what!?
  • Why do people believe gingers have no souls when blond children look shifty as all hell?
  • Since men’s nipples are superfluous, what could they be replaced with to make life more convenient?
  • What’s better: Oprah or okra?
  • When did everyone start hating clowns?
  • Would you rather have an extra leg or live in a world where a white supremacist is America’s... oh, wait... no no NO NO NO NO…..wait ummmm….errrrr…..something about butts. Extra butts!

More: How to cook Thanksgiving dinner for just the two of you

Dress up like characters from Jean-Claude Van Damme's tour-de-force Sudden Death

A quick recap for any foreigners attending their first American Friendsgiving: Jean-Claude Van Damme is the fire marshal for the arena where the Pittsburgh Penguins are trying to win the Stanley Cup, but then terrorists show up and hold the vice president of the United States prisoner in a luxury box and one of the terrorists kidnaps Jean-Claude Van Damme’s daughter while dressed up as the mascot and then he has to save everyone because all the good guys are secretly bad, and while trying to hide he gets confused for the goalie and blocks a shot which sends the game into sudden death overtime and the movie ends with a helicopter crashing through the roof of the arena and then exploding when it hits the ice. It’s pretty much everything that is awesome about America condensed into 110 minutes of nonstop action.

Anyway, if your guests dress up, there will be at least one person at the table in a gigantic penguin outfit, which will be a comforting reminder about how America used to kick so much ass it wasn’t even funny, and as the plotline sounds far more plausible that one where we all live under the authoritarian rule of a reality show host/beauty pageant owner, there could be a good chance that Jean-Claude Van Damme will pull a Christmas miracle and save us all.

Create a designated "crying closet"

Every 20 minutes or so, you’ll catch someone’s eyes wandering off into the distance and go dead a bit before they excuse themselves to “answer this email real quick.” I’ve been checking my email about five, sometimes 10 times a day as of late.

Like a Broadway theater, your house should be a safe space. Empty out your coat closet and fill it with comfy pillows and thick blankets, a flameless “Autumn in the Park” Yankee Candle, a copy of Sarah McLachlan’s Surfacing in your college Discman and a few boxes of Puffs Plus — the Cadillac of crying.

Serve liquor from countries you could see yourself fleeing to. Scotch has been tainted by Brexit, the wines of France are souring as Le Pen seems to be growing more powerful by the day, Russian vodka is a no-no. Who’s got hooch and hasn’t lost their freaking minds yet? What’s going on in Tonga? They had that sexy oiled-up flag bearer at the Olympics. They got anything that can wipe out some very traumatized memory cells? How about Australia? I suppose I could deal with living amongst 40-foot spiders and biker gangs made up of actual snakes if I were drunk enough.

More: 26 simple last-minute recipes that will save your Thanksgiving

*As for the rest of your life — we give it about five or six years before society collapses and we’re left in a barren post-apocalyptic society in which each of you will need to fend for yourself and survive by any means necessary. So start planning your strategy now if you want this year’s great Friendsgiving memories to last!

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