Experts say that a majority of Americans would rather stick a fork in their eye than get up at some ungodly hour and cook a turkey on Thanksgiving Day and then serve it to a room full of people who hate turkey and/or each other. Therefore, in the spirit of peace and harmony, I offer the following advice.
1. Lower your expectations. Now lower them some more.
2. Like religion and politics, advise family members in advance that you will not put up with any discussion about the merits, or lack thereof, of cranberries.
3. Put the stuffing in the bird. The bird's entire purpose is to make the stuffing taste good.
4. Start drinking early, but alternate alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages so that you do not pass out before the pie is served. Or, to avoid that problem entirely:
5. Serve the pie first. Serve it with whipped cream. Make the whipped cream from scratch. It is easy, and it is the only thing everyone at the table will like.
6. If you actually know people who do not like whipped cream, then what is their problem? Do you really need to dine with them? They sound high maintenance to me. Are they vegans? Oh for god sakes vegans! Do not make them a special entree! Let them eat the side dishes. You have enough to worry about. And if they ask if there is butter in the mashed potatoes, say, "Hell, yes! They are fucking mashed potatoes; they have a fuckload of butter, otherwise they wouldn't be mashed potatoes."
7. Actually, don't say that. See number one.
8. Also, see number four.
9. Instead of asking yourself if there should be a special kid's table, ask yourself this: How young is too young to make children do the clean up? You cooked; why should diminutive size allow one to freeload?
10. Do not follow up dinner with a family trip to some superstore. Sit down on the damn coach and watch TV already. God. Have you no sense of tradition?