Three rules for Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. This is the preferred holiday of most males over the age of 21. Four day weekend, excessive food, football, etc., etc.

Let me offer three pieces of advice for anyone hosting a Thanksgiving dinner:

1. Turkey
Seriously. Do not mess around with this. If you want to also cook and serve ham, or pheasant or something, fine, but you don’t do it in place of turkey. Turkey, mashed potatoes and corn are mandatory parts of a Thanksgiving dinner. This is non-negotiable. Nothing will make your family forget what they’re thankful for and ruin their holiday quicker than a botched Thanksgiving dinner.
And while subbing roast beef or steak or whatever for turkey is criminal enough, whatever you do, DO NOT get cute and try to have one of those ‘hey, let’s do something different this year’ Thanksgiving dinners and make pizza or lasagna or something. My mom made lasagna for Thanksgiving one year and I almost ran away from home.

2. Football
Not everyone in America is a football fan. That’s perfectly fine. You don’t have to be. Sports aren’t always for everybody.
But this is Thanksgiving. You watch football. It’s your duty as an American. It’s part of remembering what you’re thankful for (I realize that might not make complete sense, just go with me on this one).
Unless every single person at your gathering is in agreement that they want to watch something else, you put the games on.
A friend of mine who will remain anonymous here told me recently that his wife’s family doesn’t watch football, and every Thanksgiving they go the entire day eating and chatting in silence, not only not watching football, but acting as though the absolute last thing in the world they’d ever consider doing on Thanksgiving is watching football. That’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard in my life. It’s grounds for divorce.
It’s Thanksgiving. Put the game on.

3. Bring friends
A big reason that most of us love Thanksgiving so much is because most of us always have somewhere to go. We have big families or friends who will take us in.
Sometimes, however, for whatever reason, it doesn’t work out that way.
Chances are all of us have friends who, for whatever reason, don’t have anywhere to go tomorrow.
Maybe their parents are dead, maybe they live too far away from home, maybe they have to work on Friday and it’s just too much of a hassle to go somewhere Thursday and have to quick turn around and come back.
If that’s one of your friends, invite them over. Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be just for family.

Have a great weekend, and thanks to those of you who make this a regular stop every week.

(If you missed it in today’s paper, here’s my column on the Vikings’ miserable season. Happy Thanksgiving, Leslie!)