1. Ask yourself if you can possibly serve turkey now that your nephew has gone vegan.
2. Ask yourself if you can possibly not serve turkey seeing as how your sister has become a Paleo evangelist.
3. Google “How offensive are turkeys 2019” then spend three days scrolling through funny turkey memes. Stumble upon a video narrated in an unrecognizable language where a gaggle (Or is it a herd?) of turkeys chase pygmy hippos across a stage.
4. Find yourself rooting for the pygmy hippos.
5. Wonder if that somehow makes you complicit in an anti-turkey agenda.
6. Cover your bases by making donations to the Gastronomists Against Gobbling Gobblers and PETA. Then send money to the PTA because they always have a fundraiser happening and you’ve already dug your credit card out since you can never remember the CVC. Readjust grocery shopping budget to reflect unforeseen expenditures. Hope that you’re close to the spending threshold for that free holiday bird they keep advertising at the Stop & Mart.
7. Through exhaustive research, determine that the proper word for a group of turkeys is “rafter.” Applaud your determination to explore topics outside of your comfort zone. Consider pushing yourself even further by doing research on the country from which the amusing turkey video originated, but instead become distracted by Taylor Swift tweeting a link to the recipe for her world-famous corn pudding.
8. Text veterinarian neighbor to ask, “Do pygmy hippos eat corn?” Wonder aloud if your grandniece, who only eats food in miniature (don’t forget to pick up more bite-sized quiches from Costco), would deign to eat your mother’s roast brussels sprouts if you referred to them as pygmy cabbages.
9. Conduct another internet search to determine if creamed corn is available in non-BPA-lined cans. Your niece is still breastfeeding and is avoiding all BPAs. Recall niece’s obsession with Taylor Swift, so decided to chance it.
10. Dedicate a minimum of twenty minutes to scrolling through Taylor Swift-related headlines so that you will have easy topics of conversation to fall back on each time your niece’s husband espouses the benefits of CrossFit and intermittent fasting.
11. Adjust cooking schedule to accommodate his previously-forgotten fasting schedule.
12. Suddenly remember the nursing baby is lactose intolerant.
13. When your spouse points out that creamed corn doesn’t actually contain any milk, try to play off your having somehow missed this subtle detail for the first four decades of your life. Wonder what other “truths” have eluded you. Kernels of truth. Corn kernels. Relax in knowing that even if the meal is a total bust, you have a pun that’ll make Uncle Ned shoot stuffing out his nose. If he still ate gluten, that is.
14. Taylor Swift likes pygmy hippos, doesn’t she? Probably because they are small, cute and unthreatening. Like the patriarchy expects women to be. Let the hippos take up space, goddammit.
15. Scour Pinterest for “gluten-free paleo non-allergenic raw diabetic vegan dinner ideas.” Sob incoherently until you must return to Pinterest to find “party drinks that treat dehydration.”
16. Utilize every stove burner, crockpot, and Dutch oven in your arsenal of cookware to steam bushels of broccoli until they disintegrate into a thick paste. Mold into a turkey-sized mound on your best platter. Garnish with fresh parsley and the bag of still-frozen cranberries you’d intended to make into a roulade but fuck these fucking people and the waifish hippos they rode in on.
17. Photoshop a picture of your niece’s baby in her Rosie the Riveter Halloween costume atop a massive hippo trampling a horde of puritanical patriarchal pilgrims.
18. Christmas card DONE. No wait… holiday — holiday card. Dammit.
19. Resolve next year to buy a tofurkey and hope the baby outgrows her allergy to soy.
20. Sit back and watch everyone pick tediously at, then reject all your hard work. Swallow that rejection while stroking your turkey-like wattle and considering radicalization.