If you’re in a rut like I was, here are some easy ways to reclaim the holidays and make them fun again. It's easier than you think.
Throw a Friendsgiving
What is Friendsgiving? Good friends are family. If you’re short on blood relations (or blood relations whose company you enjoy), well, that’s what friends are for. Gather all your fellow wayward spirits and throw a potluck-style Friendsgiving.
Fun dress code
Do you know how big a hero you’ll be if you dispense with the formalities and instruct your guests to show up in their comfiest pajamas? Only the biggest hero. Stretchy waistbands make weathering the inevitable turkey coma so much more pleasant.
Disposable table settings
The best Thanksgiving is one where you don’t have to do any dishes. Ditch the fine china for some eco-friendly disposable dishware so you can simply toss the dirty dishes (with minimal guilt). Craft a cheap tablecloth out of butcher paper, trade elaborate centerpieces for buckets of crayons and markers and encourage your guests to make funny drawings or leave notes about what they’re thankful for this year. Not only will you not have to clean it afterwards, but you’ll be left with a memorable keepsake.
Make a signature cocktail
Serve a festive cocktail that's quick and easy to mix for a crowd. Think seasonal flavors, such as apple, pumpkin and cranberry. Don't forget to make a nonalcoholic version for teetotalers and designated drivers who still want to feel festive. Visit thanksgiving.com for some ideas, such as the delectable pumpkin fizz cocktail. Plus, alcohol means you'll have the option of devising drinking games.
This isn't your grandma's Thanksgiving (unless your grandma is particularly cool), so leave Parcheesi and Cribbage in the attic and update your stash with some easy-to-learn card games that show off your friends' humor, creativity and wit. Anomia tests the ability of players' brains to find connections between simple prompts, while Superfight has players create superheroes they have to argue to victory like demented lawyers. If you opt for those custom cocktails and there are no kids within earshot (and you have a wicked sense of humor), you can never go wrong with Cards Against Humanity, which bills itself as "a party game for horrible people."
A bigger fan of football than of Thanksgiving? Then dispense of finery entirely and throw a game-day party. You’re an adult, you can do what you want. And if what you want is to wear your team jersey, deep-fry a turkey, drink plastic cups of beer poured straight from a keg and trash talk your friends, not a soul on earth can stop you.
Really lean into the gluttony of the occasion and have an eating contest. Make Instant Pots full of stuffing, prepare a vat of mashed potatoes, load up on cheap store-bought pumpkin pie and go to town. A good prize for the winner, in addition to eternal bragging rights, will make the tummy ache that follows a little more palatable.
The whole point of an irreverent Thanksgiving is to have fun. So you burn the pie. So the dog eats the turkey. So the power goes out. So what? At its core, Thanksgiving is little more than an excuse to spend time with the people you love. As long as you get that part right, the rest is gravy.