Your Modern-Day Thanksgiving Guide to Getting Through the Holiday With Only Slightly Less Dignity Than You Started With

This is not your grandmother's "How to Survive Thanksgiving" guide. It's not even your spinster aunt's. This is far more about you and the troubles a modern-day busy and productive person with a job and responsibilities and a life, for the love of God -- even if that life is just DVRing TV shows you can't even remember anymore and then being too busy to watch them -- will face when the whole family gathers to celebrate one of the most festive-yet-deeply-fraught events of the season.

Let's start with the good: Chances are, you have some days off this week. Maybe you're taking an extra day, perhaps to travel so that you don't have to contend with all the insane people traveling on Wednesday. Perhaps you are not so lucky. You still, we hope and pray, have Thursday through Sunday off. That's four whole days! And, if not, and you have to work, you don't really need this guide anyway because you have been excused from dealing with your family.

In any case: Deep breaths. It will all be O.K. You have us!

1. The first step in any family gathering is identifying the role you will play in the festivities. I'm not talking about whether you're going to cook the mashed potatoes or put those fried onions on the green beans horizontally or vertically. I'm talking about: Who ARE you? Are you the bratty sister who refuses to help and will simply sulk in the corner sipping unoaked Chardonnay and talking about how fat everyone's gotten? If so, OWN THAT. No one expects anything different, and if you show up all nicey-nice with a home-cooked pie, they'll be afraid you've turned bi-polar.

Similarly, if you are the pervy uncle, the dog who humps everyone's leg, the adorable baby and only bright spot in the whole damn family, the scary relative with the sharp knife who always insists on cutting the turkey, or the puberty-stricken teen, you have your role too, and we dare say, you know it well.

What is a family gathering but a modern-day Shakespearean dramedy? Life is but a walking shadow that will eat all the leftovers in the middle of the night so that mom throws a fit the next morning. And we wouldn't want it any other way.

2. Bring booze. Bring it. Be generous with the portions. It makes everything go so much more smoothly, and if not smooth, worst-case scenario is everyone passes out and leaves you in peace and quiet to watch some of those shows you haven't seen in so long.

If you happen to be invited to a booze-free holiday celebration, tell them you have mono, stay home with the cats, and eat a bag of turkey-flavored chips.

If you happen to have a family where booze incites violence rather than mellowing everyone out, you are also allowed to bring Xanax, or possibly Klonopin. Don't mix, however. No one likes a Thanksgiving trip to the ER.

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