YOU ASKED: How can I (politely) invite myself to someone’s Thanksgiving feast?

November 4, 2010 | By | Comments (0)

This question came from a friend of mine who lives in California and whose family used to come to my house for Thanksgiving—until this year, when I moved to New York. Pies 2

“It seems rude to just call someone and say, ‘Hey, I heard you make a mean turkey, do you need help eating it?’“ she told me the other day.

Well, yes, if you put it that way. But you shouldn’t have to. Let’s look at your strengths as a potential guest. For one thing, you represent another person to whom a host can assign a dish— pie is always in demand, so I really can’t overstate the importance of playing up the pie angle if this is your specialty.

More important, of all the major holidays, Thanksgiving is the most inclusive; it’s about being grateful for bounty and for the people you love, and wanting to share the first with the second.  When you close your eyes and imagine the ideal holiday, you flash on a Norman Rockwell scene — a rowdy, crowded dining room where multiple generations laugh together.

To create that magical atmosphere, a host generally needs some buffer guests—the neutral, pleasant outsiders whose presence makes even the most difficult family members at the table behave better. That’s where you come in.

So, typically all you have to do is troll casually:

You: What are you doing for Thanksgiving?
Host: Having people over. What about you?
You: Not sure yet. All I know is I make a killer pumpkin chiffon pie (Note: This dialog is customized for my friend in California, who actually does make a killer pumpkin chiffon. Feel free to substitute your own lure.)
Host: Really? Why don’t you join us?
You: What can I bring?

And if by any chance you find yourself still scrambling on the day before Thanksgiving, come to my house. We can always squeeze a another person onto the piano bench at the foot of the table. Bring pie.

Suggestions welcome: Do you have a special strategy for securing a Thanksgiving invitation?

(image: Omar Omar, courtesy of flickr)