Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year, filled with food, family and fun…well, that’s the Hallmark version of the Holidays. Let’s face reality for a second: sometimes the only way to ensure a nice evening with the family is with a stiff drink in your hand.

Catching a buzz in front of the family must be well thought out. While your survival for the evening might require lining up shots with a beer chaser, doing so will send Mom’s red flag showing that you’re a raging alcoholic. That alone will cause even more harm.

So, follow these few rules in case you need to get your drink on this Turkey Day.

Come Bearing Gifts

To make sure you can have some drinks this Thanksgiving, do the classy thing: bring your own booze. NOTE: This doesn’t mean showing up with a case of Natty Light. Instead, bring a couple of bottles of wine that will go great with dinner (you can find some great options here). This way, you can tell your family that you read a great article on how this wine is the perfect pairing for Turkey Day. You’ll look sophisticated instead of like a lush.

Remember to bring enough for everyone. This way, if a bottle is only half finished, it doesn’t make any sense to re-cork it. The wine will likely spoil, so you might as well kill it. After all, Mom always told you not to be wasteful!

Don’t Drink Alone

If you plan on bearing gifts, have a sidekick so you won’t go down that path alone. This way, you’ll look like you’re going with the flow and having a good time with the rest of the clan. Whatever you do, for the love of God, DO NOT make that person your girlfriend/boyfriend. Parents will always blame him/her for your poor decisions and they will never let you date in peace again. Now, if you want to dump that person, go for it, but that’s another blog altogether.

Find a sibling, cousin, or if you’re really lucky, a drunk uncle. Every family has that go-to person. If you are unsure of who that is, it’s likely you. If that’s the case, you’re likely the black sheep anyway, so cheers. But, it’s always advisable to find someone else to go down that rabbit hole with you so you aren’t “that guy”.

Be Festive

Thanksgiving, by definition, should be a festive occasion, therefore, the drinks should be as well. Don’t start making Jager Bombs before having pumpkin pie. Instead, choose some great seasonal after-dinner drinks that look cheery and will likely get everyone involved.

Here are a few choices:

Pumpkin Pie Martini
Manzarita
Stinger
The King
Brandy Alexander

Whatever you choose, by using these simple steps, you will be prepared to turn things up a notch in case Thanksgiving starts going south quickly. And don’t forget, nothing kills the holiday buzz faster than a DWI. If you can’t crash in your old twin bed, be responsible for once and call a cab.