Forgetting to bring the canned cranberry sauce that you signed up for would be bad, but it's not the worst thing that could happen on Thanksgiving Day.  There are three bigger Thanksgiving dinner faux pas that will leave your relatives hungry, grouchy, and well...not thankful. 

Maybe you're in full prep mode right now, finalizing the Thanksgiving food list and making sure everyone is signed up for something.  I'm taking a salad, and the very meticulous and well-meaning host has sent specs for exactly how big the salad bowl can be so it will fit on the buffet table next to the perfectly-sized aluminum pans and gel chaffing burners that will hold the sides and keep them warm.  Everything is measured to the centimeter, and therefore dinner will be perfect.  In theory anyway.

Actually, Thanksgiving dinner goes as planned about 64 percent of the time, according to a study by Omaha Steaks.  So there's that.

There are three big Thanksgiving mistakes, and none of them has anything to do with improper measurements on the sweet potato pan.  The biggest Thanksgiving fail is making people wait too long to eat!  But there are other things that upset guests too.

The Three Biggest Thanksgiving Mistakes:

1.  Not having everything done on time.  With fifteen dishes and one oven, it really is a miracle that we're not all eating Thanksgiving dinner at 9 pm.  It's hard to cook all of that food and time it out to be warm and ready at the same time.  But if guests are counting on eating at 1 pm and the turkey is still in the oven at 2, the crowd starts getting hangry.  And then they start filling up on appetizers or start drinking (or both), and then the tense conversations about politics and why you're not married gain steam.  Avoid all of this by getting food into people's mouths at the promised time.  Forty-one percent of Americans say they’ve been left hungry and waiting at dinner.

2.  Messing up the turkey.  Twenty-six percent of Americans have had to grind through an overcooked turkey, according to the NY Post.  And if it's undercooked, well, that can land your guests in the hospital.  Gravy can help a tough, dry, overcooked turkey, but nobody wants medical bills from an undercooked one.  A frozen turkey takes three or four days to thaw in the refrigerator, so save yourself the Wednesday night panic and set a reminder on your phone to get it out of the deep freeze by Sunday.  The overnight bathtub method isn't the safest, and also, it feels weird having poultry in the room while you're drying your hair.

3.  Not having enough seating.  It's fantastic when hosts with big hearts invite thirty people into a 900-square foot apartment, but it's not usually super comfortable for the guests unless it's all couples who don't mind sitting on each other's laps.  Twenty-six percent of people have complained that a lack of seating made Thanksgiving less than spectacular.  This is why we're at Walmart on Wednesday night trying to figure out how to get six folding chairs into a cart.  The holidays are a challenge in so many ways.

Now we know what's going through our guests' heads on Thanksgiving Day while they're standing around the kitchen putting black olives on their fingers waiting for the turkey to be carved.

Hopefully, your Thanksgiving Day will be flawless.  As long as we have love and some of that canned cranberry sauce, the rest of the day will work itself out I'm sure.

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