Holiday stress can be easily abetted by the flood of well-intentioned advice from women’s magazines urging you to plan the perfect Thanksgiving dinner and offering mind-bendingly complicated recipes to “wow” your friends and family.
Instead, try one of these five Thanksgiving Day ideas inspired by the antics of the fictitious ragtag crew from the hit TV show M*A*S*H to turn a stressful holiday into a stress-less day of fun and irreverence.
1. Throw an irreverent Turkey Day party.
Although Captain “Hawkeye” Pierce and Captain “Trapper” McIntyre’s actual “Come as Your Favorite Nude Pilgrim” party was left out of the “Hot Lips and Empty Arms” episode, Major Margaret Houlihan mentions it in a sarcastic toast to her colleagues: “Here’s to captains Pierce and McIntyre. To their all-night binges. To their secret nurse ceremonies. To their planting of microphones in sleeping bags. To their childish switching of names on latrines. All of which goes into my special report to General Mitchell, which culminates in a detailed account of your Thanksgiving ‘Come as Your Favorite Nude Pilgrim’ party.”
If you’re lucky enough to get the holiday off, why not have a blowout and really celebrate? Skip the tryptophan-induced coma and throw a big party.
2. Have a cocktail (or two!).
Major Frank Burns: Margaret, you’ve been drinking.
Major Margaret Houlihan: Correction…I am drinking.
If you’re scheduled to work a shift on Thanksgiving, be sure to plan a nice reward for when your day is through. Kick up your heels with a cocktail. You deserve it!
3. Watch football.
[a gun goes off at the football game]
Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan: Oh my God! They’ve shot him.
Lt. Colonel Henry Blake: Hot Lips, you incredible nincompoop. It’s the end of the quarter.
Spend Thanksgiving weekend as most patriotic Americans do: Get into your favorite barcalounger and turn on the game. Just be sure to turn off your work brain first!
4. Pat your iron stomach.
In season eight, in the episode “The Yalu Brick Road,” the day after Thanksgiving proves disastrous for Hawkeye and B.J. as they come down with a terrible case of food poisoning. They must retrieve antibiotics from another unit to deal with the situation. Meanwhile, Major Houlihan is one of the few personnel unaffected by the food poisoning and carries on attending to patients.
As a nurse, your superhuman immune system will carry you through any strange, gastronomically challenging dish your family can cook up this year. So go ahead and be an adventurous eater—you’ll be napping on the couch when everyone else is reaching for the Pepto-Bismol.
5. Try experimenting with a recipe.
In the episode “Too Many Cooks,” Private Paul Conway, who shows up as one of the wounded at the 4077th, turns out to be a “gourmet” chef who creates meals from unexpected sources. While recovering from his injury, he concocts dishes such as “Spam parmigiana,” “chipped beef Wellington” and “powdered eggs Benedict.” The 4077th staff fall in love with his cooking and attempt to make him their permanent army cook.
Why settle for boring old turkey? You never have a dull moment at work, so you might as well extend the adventure to your kitchen this Thanksgiving. If a dish turns out to be a disaster, bring it to your next shift and share it with your “favorite” new resident.