It’s that time of year again, kids. And this Thanksgiving, there’s a lot to be thankful for: marriage equality in 15 states; spousal benefits in the military; expanding trans rights; Cher. But all that goodwill is only going to take up so much room in your suitcase, and let’s face it, you’re going to need more than your “I’m on the right side of history, ask me how” T-shirt to get through grace, let alone dinner. If you’re heading home for the holidays, get ready to gird your loins and shine a light through the shade of familial obligations.
Make sure you don’t put out an eye when you whip out that meat thermometer — here are Queerty’s essentials for your Thanksgiving Survival Kit.
Nothing says “Happy Holidays” like getting three sheets to the wind with your favorite spinster aunt—the one everyone says has a drinking problem, but you know just likes to have the funs. Cut to dessert: Mom’s face-down in the Jell-O, dad’s yelling at the shadows on the wall and you and Auntie Maimed are crying into her pashmina about how you’ll both die alone. Good times.
The worst part about going home is missing out on all the Thanksgiving tail flooding into your gayborhood. The best part about going home? Capitalizing on all the Thanksgiving tail flooding back into your old stomping grounds. Not to mention all the old tail that never went anywhere and may be molting some of its feathers but still has some spring its waddle.
When you realize everyone from high school got fat, married or both, you’ll be ready with your old friend, Palm Selleck. Thanksgiving is just oozing with sexual imagery, what with all that stuffing and gorging, so who can blame you for sneaking away to baste your own turkey? Plus, no one will even notice if you’re gone since they’ll be too busy watching football. All the while, you’re watching men tackle each other without pads, or for that matter, pants.
August Osage County by Tracy Letts
If you thought your family was hell, Tracy Letts’s Pulitzer Prize winning play presents the mother of all dysfunctional families. Read the play in anticipation of the movie, which peaks early when Julia Roberts tackles Meryl Streep then screams in her face about her pill addiction. If that’s not what the holidays are all about then Meryl’s not getting her fourth Oscar.
Illegal Mexican Diet Pills
Speaking of pills, at the end of the day, Thanksgiving is nothing more than a government-sanctioned excuse to put on ten pounds. It marks the beginning of the dreaded season of holiday bloat, which inevitably culminates with a walk of shame to the gym come January 2, your resolutions and self-loathing in hand. Why not bypass that tryptophanic trapdoor in the shadiest and least healthy way possible? Your major organs may hate you, but your swimsuit will thank you — come spring.
Sometimes you just need a buffer. Your family might be hesitant to get too crazy with a stranger present, but then again, once the wine’s out, all bet’s are off and you might just have to throw your friend to the wolves. Then again, your bestie can also be your beard. If you’re not out, strap him or her to your chin like you’re Tom Cruise about to head on a major promotional tour. Or, if you are out and your mother is nagging you about settling down, you and your BFF can play a little game of house. Just remember, it’s only a game — lest one of you leave the table with Tupperware full of leftover feelings.
A Playlist of Gay Anthems
If your parents aren’t completely on board with the whole queer thing, it’s important to turn on your favorite power anthem and drown out the bullshit. This year proved particularly anthemic but nothing brings people together like Miley Cyrus. Years later, you and your family can look back fondly on the Thanksgiving you taught nana to twerk. She died later that night. But she died happy, knowing the true joy of life: makin’ that ass clap.
Your Reading Glasses
You should do your best to remain civil while you’re at home or wherever you may end up this Thanksgiving. But some people just don’t know when to take a seat and if they insist on coming for you, you may just have to show them a chair. Even if it may have holiday hours, the library is always open. So when your Bible-thumping Tea Party uncle starts laying into you about gay marriage, lay into him about the ridiculousness of his shape or how he wears more makeup than your mother. Note: some reads are not universal.