I know how it is: you decide to host Thanksgiving, and next thing you know you’re on pins and needles wondering who will actually deign to show up, since nobody RSVPs anymore. (Or is that just my family?) Well, I know this may be a little late, but help is on the way in the form of this handy template for the official Thanksgiving invitation. This is useful even after you’ve issued the verbal offer and the save-the-date, in case your people need a reminder or a little prompting.
Of course you’ll want to tweak this a bit for your particular family situation; for example, if you’re all football fans but backing opposing teams, you can start the trash-talk early. Or, if all of your family get-togethers devolve into ruthless character assassination, you can make light of that. Here are some guiding principles for all invitations, before you proceed to the template:
- Brand it – this is more than a meal, more than a holiday, it’s an event
- Keep it light – for example, don’t make too much fun of the vegans
- Make it sassy – there will be plenty of cloying, sentimental speeches on the day itself so there’s no need to start now
- Make it firm – if you come off as too beseeching, you just look pathetic
- Provide actual information – even if this goes against everything you stand for
Hello all you family people,
I know this is really late in the game (though I don’t know what the game is, exactly) but anyhow, consider this your official invitation to TGV’23 at the Albert Headquarters in Albany! Please print out this email summons and bring it to show at the door. (If you can turn this guest authentication concept into a QR-code-driven thing, so much the better. Get your IT folks together with mine and they’ll set it up.)
As no other organizing principle presents itself I’ll make the rest of this invitation an FAQ.
Shouldn’t it be called TVG’23?
No, that was Uncle B—’s idea. I think he was referring to “TV Guide” though I can’t imagine why he thought that made sense. TGV’23 is not really an acronym, as all acronyms are passé.
What do you hosts need to know from me as you plan for TGV’23?
We need to know who all is coming (including plus-ones) and who is bringing the Bell’s seasoning. So far we think we have [list of invited guests goes here]. If anyone in that list is having second thoughts, dismiss them immediately.
Has the turkey been ordered?
Yes, which means nobody is allowed to flake. We ordered a very special turkey. We reserved it, in fact, before it was born. It was still in the egg. We met its parents. Since then we’ve supervised every step of its lifecycle, from its incubation (the mother and father taking turns), its early life (on a real grassy field, none of this fake plastic green grass like with an Easter basket), to its entirely hormone-free organic-grain-fed upbringing with plenty of opportunity to socialize. It is local, organic, fair-trade, and hopefully large enough.
Is lodging included in this deal?
L— gets dibs on the guest room (which she may still anachronistically refer to as “her” “bedroom”) and its magnificent new king-sized guest bed. If you’re nice she might invite you to a slumber party there. Other guests can fight over the legendary Bed of Sand down in the home office. Beyond that, we have a reasonable amount of floor space and two large sofas for those interested in the college-esque party-‘til-dawn experience, and if there are adventurous souls fancying a campout, we have flat (albeit stone) surfaces in the backyard and a large tent available. We would not be offended if one or more parties were to seek a motel/hotel/AirBNB/VRBO, especially given the relatively small number of bathrooms here (i.e., one).
I heard a rumor that the men are encouraged to pee in the backyard.
Yes, but only in the planting beds and the fountain. And please keep your micturition discreet so as not to scandalize the neighbors.
Does your new guest bed have a name?
Yes, we call it the Pound Cake Bed because the mattress is so much like pound cake, it’s tempting to take a bite.
Is there plenty of free parking?
Yes, we have a remarkable abundance of street parking. If your car is currently dripping oil, please notify us in advance and we will provide carpet swatches.
My car is a beautiful Dodge Charger Super Bee and its exterior paint has been polished, waxed, clear-coated, and festooned with glitter. Can I park it in your garage?
Our garage was designed around a 1927 Model-T Ford and can only accommodate a sub-compact car, and only then if we were to remove eight or nine bicycles. So, no.
Have all the Albany Alberts been vaccinated?
Triple-vaxxed against COVID, flu-shots up to date, shingles vaccines complete, and screened monthly for cooties. No wonder we’re all practically autistic.
When should we arrive?
Wednesday seems reasonable. If anybody is flying, and the airfares are lower earlier in the week or something, well then come earlier!
When should we leave?
I reckon either on Sunday, or right after you break something but before the breakage is discovered, or earlier if you have to, or later if airfares go down or whatever. Just wing it, there are no wrong answers.
I am kind of new to this family and when you all get together, I can’t understand half the stuff you’re saying. What gives?
Fear not: I have put together this handy glossary of Albert-isms.
Will there be gravy?
Look, there are some things we just don’t joke about, okay?
Do you miss us, and are you super-pumped about this, and will there be lots of baking (e.g., pumpkin pie, apple pandowdy), and should Uncle B— bring his biking gear (cleaks, angry biker costume, and helmet), and will there be long hikes, and can people pursue their own activities as desired, and will there be leftovers?
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and maybe.
Will there be dad jokes?
Does the pope wear a funny hat?
Was that a dad joke?
No. That was a cinematic reference. A dad joke would be more along the lines of “Two peanuts were walking down the street and one of them was assaulted.”
I heard you have a cat. Was it genetically modified to be hypoallergenic?
No, Freya was conceived the old fashioned way by a couple of strays. However, she has a subcutaneous RFID transmitter in case she gets lost, and because we added our credit card number to her online profile, we can use her as a mobile wallet. Ask for a demo! (As for anyone with a cat allergy, Benadryl is on us!)
Why do you use so many exclamation points?
Because I’m so doggone excited about TGV’23!!
If I’m honest, half the reason I’m even coming is so I can visit San Francisco with my plus-one. Is it a reasonable drive, and will my car get broken into?
If your car is a Prius, its catalytic converter will be stolen, even if you only park it out front of our house. But you’re in luck because with the local BART train system you can reach San Francisco in just 25 minutes, and the city is totally walk-able. You’ll have a blast!
How soon do you need to know we’re coming?
Oh, we already ordered the turkey, so you’re coming. You’re definitely coming. You better. But we don’t need any official total. It’s not like we have to pull permits or something.
Do you have any glue sticks?
As far as you know, no. We don’t need a repeat of what happened last year.
Will there be any strange, nonstandard dishes that will make me feel uneasy?
You mean like those weird tiny onions in the saliva-like sauce your ex-stepmother served? You bet! (Kidding! I never asked for the recipe, needless to say.) We’re sticking to the classics, mostly, though we’ll roast a couple of chickens (just to be “disruptive”).
Only if you really love window shopping. You probably wouldn’t enjoy actually buying anything here in Albany because have we some of the highest sales tax in the nation. (But it’s all good … I voted for that tax hike, and countless others.)
Aha, you got me!
Well, I guess that pretty much sums it up. Please let us know if you’re coming, etc. and if you have any questions I didn’t think of.
Evil Uncle Dana