The five stages of Thanksgiving host regret
The big day is this week, and your family and friends are already on their way. (Gulp.) Before we panic, let's take a look back at how we got here...
Thanksgiving is less than a month away, and while no one else in your family has stepped up and offered to host yet, surely someone will soon. Right? You’ve done it the last three years, so they can’t possibly think it’s your turn again, can they? Although, when they were all thanking you for last year, you did say “anytime.” Oh no, what if they thought you actually meant that? Well... give it a few weeks. Maybe someone else will come through.
Great. Just great. It’s now a week away, and your cousin Julie just called to ask if you still have an air mattress, so it looks like everything is all falling to you again this year. Oh, except for the cranberry sauce, or course. Aunt Rita always insists on bringing her “world famous, wink-wink” cranberry sauce — literally just the canned stuff. Hilarious, Aunt Rita. Every time. Never gets old. (Also: Why can’t she just do the wink-wink? Why does she say it?)
You’d better head to the grocery store and see what you can scrape together. Hopefully you’ll still be able to get a turkey! This close to Thanksgiving? You’ll be lucky to get a parking spot. You’ll probably end up going to 14 different stores, and then having to fight a little old lady for the last Butterball left within state lines. And then even if you do get a turkey, there’s that pressure to cook it just perfectly. Not enough, you give everyone salmonella. Too much, everyone keeps commenting on how it’s “a little dry this year.” Screw it. Just get chicken nuggets.
Look. Maybe you should see if you can persuade everyone to just do a potluck this year. Sure, it’s Thanksgiving Day and everyone’s already started showing up at your house, but do these people really deserve your Thanksgiving dinner? Just put everything away and save it for a Friendsgiving a few days from now. Tell your family this year’s Thanksgiving is going to be "Chopped"-style: Grandma, Uncle Bill and cousin Tommy will compete to take the non-Turkey-Day contents of your fridge and turn them into a unique, flavorful dish that hopefully won’t give everyone food poisoning. That would be: Sriracha, half a carton of almond milk and one-and-a-half leftover fish tacos. That could be fun, right? Go ask.
They didn’t go for that? OK, fine. You’ll finish cooking this year, one last time, but next year someone else is going to have to step up.
The meal is over, and everyone loved it. Of course they did. But does it even matter? You’re too full of tryptophan to care. And look at that kitchen. Ugh. There are so many dishes to wash. Too many. It’s hopeless. You can’t go on. This is going to be the Thanksgiving that finally breaks you.
Ooh, wait — pie!
You know what, this was actually really nice. It’s so rare that you all get to see each other and spend quality time as a whole family. Grandma making everyone go around the table and say what they’re thankful for seemed like it’d be cheesy, but it was actually kind of sweet. And when your sister said “this beautiful meal,” it didn’t even sound that sarcastic. And Uncle Carl only told three "Crooked Hillary" jokes — a Thanksgiving miracle! You also have to admit: Aunt Rita’s canned cranberry sauce is better than any freshly crushed cran-apple-whatever Martha Stewart could come up with. Great job, Aunt Rita.
And you! Great job hosting. You should reward yourself by keeping all the leftovers. And having another slice of pie. Go ahead, you deserve it. Another perfect Thanksgiving! Almost makes you want to say you’d love to do it again… anytime.
Noooo! What have you done?!