Thanksgiving offers families a wonderful opportunity to come together and celebrate a good year over a great meal -- or so the movies claim. But if you're sitting in your childhood bedroom, surrounded by honorable mention trophies you forbid your parent to throw out, and wondering how you can turn this routine holiday into something memorable, then you've found the right list. Hallmark holidays are highly overrated anyways.
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Did a spring break fling from six years ago recently call to inform you that owe back child-support payment for a son you never even knew existed? Were you freaked out last week when you spotted you very pregnant ex-girlfriend that you hadn't seen in nine months. Make your family freak out even more than you did by bringing up the your child at the dinner table. Challenge yourself to slip it in as casually as possible into conversation with smooth transitions like "Please pass along the stuffing as well as any other advice you would give to a new father."
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There's nothing more obnoxious than someone who chooses to live by a pointless dietary restriction. Hence, becoming a vegetarian (vegan if you want to go all out) is a phenomenal way to put stress on the people cooking as well as dominate the dinner conversation by continuously inserting fun facts about how a turkey farm operates. Make sure that you insist there be plenty of meatless options and don't be shy about throwing a fit if the someone mixes up the real gravy with the tofurkey gravy.
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Don't beat around the bush and act like your grandparents are going to live forever. Be proactive and save the family trouble when the time comes by going through their house and labeling everything you want them to leave you. There's no more practical way to furnish a future apartment than by staking your claims to dusty furniture in the attic,your grandparents new HD TV that some salesman insisted they need, and their prescription drugs that will sell best on a college campus. Kids these days will do anything for prostate swelling meds.
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Just when every one's getting along perfectly and complimenting your cousin on how good she looks after she got her second round of adult braces removed, bring up everything controversial that you know about. Keep blurting out key words abortion, republicans, Nancy Pelosi, rap music, and Carrot Top until someone takes your bait and starts yelling about it. No matter what your true thoughts are on the matter, it's extremely important that you take the opposite viewpoint of whoever seems the most eager to fight. Your uncle thinks immigrants should be citizens before they work here, well then you think we should all give up our homes to immigrants and pass a law saying they're the only ones that can run for president.
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Did your sister fail out of law school but still pretends to be enrolled so she can cash your parents tuition checks? Great fun fact. Did your cousin join a sex commune while he was abroad? Perfect story to share. Take advantage of every conversation lull by throwing out a family secret and seeing what happens next. This is also a useful trick to use when someone draws attention to your flaws. Simply ignore your grandfather's repetitive comments about you not being able to hold down a real job by telling everyone about the time you logged onto your dad's computer and accidentally found his porn stash.
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Trying to watch the game over the yelling, fighting, and laughter of young relatives can be extremely frustrating and detrimental to your game-watching ability. Take this as an opportunity to do the disciplining that their parents clearly never took the time to do. Make sure to be firm, yet gentle by padding each curse word and violent threat with Thanksgiving imagery that won't completely spoil their image of you. Try starting out with I'm going to beat the cranberry stuffing out of you if you don't shut the fuck up.
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The easiest and most enjoyable way to ruin Thanksgiving is to get excessively drunk as soon as possible. This will not only help you relax during the day and feel less self-conscious when eating the entire pumpkin pie by yourself, but it will also guarantee that you will get the most attention. Family members will gather in quiet corners and wonder how long you've been an alcoholic while small children will be forced to stay away from your bad influence. While this tactic will guarantee that you have the best Thanksgiving ever, it will also make your invitation to Christmas dinner very questionable.
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(Originally published on November 22, 2009.)
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