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How to ruin an entire Thanksgiving meal

Laura Willard is a law school grad who has successfully avoided using her education for eight years and counting. She's a wife and an adoptive mom to two kids who, without a doubt, the cutest kids ever. Motherhood is the best job she nev...

Thanksgiving dinner fail!

Thanksgiving dinner is a time for your family to gather, enjoy themselves and eat good food. However, none of that will happen if you ruin the entire Thanksgiving meal. Here's how to avoid that.

Woman washing dishes and crying

From major fails in the kitchen to serving up too much alcohol, there are a number of ways you can ruin Thanksgiving dinner. We've rounded up the top fatal moves for Thanksgiving. Read this list -- and then don't do these things!

Don't destroy the Turkey

Ruining the turkey is the best way to set yourself up for a Thanksgiving dinner failure. So our biggest piece of advice? Don't do it.

It turns out you can't microwave a frozen turkey -- that will ruin it. I think that's dumb, but those who know how to use an oven -- and a micro -- say that it's a no-no. So does the FDA, but who's keeping track?

Also, there are several other ways to destroy the central dish of your Thanksgiving meal:

  • Failing to remove the giblets. Yes, there really is a bag of internal organs inside many turkeys. Take it out before cooking.
  • Leaving it on the counter to defrost. Technically, letting your turkey defrost at room temperature won't ruin it. You won't actually know you've committed this big Thanksgiving meal fail until eight to 12 hours after your guests consume it. Bacteria breed in room temperature meat. Food poisoning is perhaps the biggest way to ruin your Thanksgiving meal -- even if it's after the fact.
  • Burning the bird. While undercooking the turkey is a bad idea (see above about foodborne illnesses), burning it is sure to put a damper on the dinner, too. Keep an eye on the turkey as it cooks. Most people don't enjoy their turkey burned beyond recognition.

Don't serve up too much alcohol

If the keys are safely stashed or everyone has a DD, Thanksgiving might be a time for your family (the over 21 members) to enjoy a few adult beverages. But if your family is like many and includes that one distant relative who sometimes shows up and drinks a little too much, your Thanksgiving dinner could potentially suffer. After all, it's hard to enjoy dinner when Uncle Bob is passed out at the table, face down in his mashed potatoes.

Try these holiday wine pairings -- in moderation, of course >>

Don't overlook food allergies

This one is no joke. Whether you have a guest with Celiac disease or one with a severe food allergy, you're certain to ruin Thanksgiving dinner if you're not very careful in the kitchen. Nobody wants Aunt Judy vomiting all night from a gluten mishap or worse, little Jimmy spending the weekend in the hospital after he eats a piece of pie containing peanuts. Find out which guests have food allergies or intolerances before the big day, and work out a plan to ensure a safe Thanksgiving meal for them.

Read Holly Robinson Peete's holiday tips for food allergies >>

Political talk at the table

Do not, under any circumstances, talk politics during Thanksgiving dinner. Besides the fact that such conversations never end well, factor in potential Thanksgiving cocktails and things can get ugly... fast. Nobody wants Grandpa going head-to-head with Cousin Bobby about who is at fault for the current state of the economy.

If the Thanksgiving dinner convo gets political, do anything -- and we mean anything -- to stop it. Better to have your family talk behind your back for years because you danced naked around the table on Thanksgiving than to let the political talk run amok.

Tell us

Have you ever experienced a Thanksgiving meal mishap? Share your story in the comments section below!

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