1. Be Careful With The China
In “The One With Rachel’s Other Sister,” it’s the first time that Monica and Chandler pull out their wedding china for Thanksgiving dinner. In true, slightly-uptight Monica style, there is a lot of concern for the china. However, when Rachel’s sister finds out that Monica is Emma’s godmother and not her, the fireworks begin. But, it is perhaps worse for Chandler who learns that even though Monica is Emma’s godmother, he would not be trusted with Emma were it not for Monica. In a desperate attempt to prove his responsibility, Chandler stops Rachel from fighting with her sister. He’s proven himself to Monica and the gang until he knocks over the box of wedding china, smashing it all.
Lesson learned: Stick to plastic if your friends are all thumbs.
2. Don’t Confuse Your Recipes
Rachel is not known for her cooking skills, so when she shows up for Thanksgiving dinner with a dessert trifle made with meat, no one is exactly surprised. (It’s key to remember that a trifle and Shepherd’s Pie do not mix.) What’s more surprising is that Joey convinces everyone to eat the trifle so he and Ross can go to another party. In real life, your friends probably don’t love you enough to choke down ground beef and whipped cream.
Lesson learned: Keep an eye on the page numbers in the cookbook, just in case.
3. Watch The Romance Mix
Nearly every “Friends” Thanksgiving episode involves a romantic subplot. Whether it’s Tag, Rachel’s much too immature assistant, Monica’s ex’s optometrist son showing up for dinner after she goes to him for an eyepatch, Chandler spending the day in the box because he kissed Kathy or Rachel being mad at Ross for making a list comparing her and Julie, well, as Facebook would have you say, it’s complicated. Crushes and major holidays rarely mix well.
Lesson learned: Have booze or sports at the ready because even the most dependable of couples can go a little haywire around this time of year.
4. Don’t Lock The Door
Remember when the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Underdog float escapes in “The One Where Underdog Gets Away”? That was totally awesome until everyone left the apartment to look and forgot to take the key. Nothing ruins a good holiday meal like a call to the locksmith.
Lesson learned: At least one guest must carry a spare key at all times.
5. Let It Go
There are a couple of times the past comes back to haunt our dear Friends at Thanksgiving. Like when Brad Pitt plays a former high school classmate of Chandler and Monica that hated Rachel. Or when Monica has to admit to cutting off part of Chandler’s toe when he spent a Thanksgiving with the Geller family in college. Major holidays are not the time to air past grievances.
Lesson learned: Don’t ruin a good meal with something better shared in your therapist’s office.
6. No Touch Sports
In addition to keeping a clean apartment, Monica is known for her competitive streak. (She is the best at giving the worst massages, after all.) So, is it any surprise that the Geller Bowl of Ross and Monica’s youth ended in a trip to the hospital and a lifetime ban on football? So when the adult Ross and Monica decide to bring back their favorite competition, what could go wrong? In this case, a long day of eating and drinking turns into a long day of fighting over a ball in a field.
Lesson learned: Leave the sports to the professionals. On TV.
A friends Thanksgiving can be a great time for all. Just keep in mind that you want the day to be remembered for what went right, not what went wrong.
(And keep that guest list free of recent exes.)
For more on hosting, see How to Throw the Best Party in an Apartment.