It seems that a better idea is to not slave over the stove, but take you and your family to the nearest upscale restaurant for the special meal. Eat, drink and relax, the turkey will be cooked to perfection. Handing the responsibility for a beautifully cooked Thanksgiving feast over to someone else might even make spending the day with your annoying cousins just that much more bearable.
Another bonus of not preparing your own Thanksgiving meal at home is that often the menu includes items for those at the table who really don't like turkey. It may be considered heresy, but there are many who, out of hunger, force down what is often a dry uninspired main course because that is the only option. There is often at least one vegetarian at every table who sits glumly while the rest of the guests are feasting.
For example, at Ken Aretsky's Patroon in New York City, pictured above, executive chef Bill Peet presents a family-style menu in the warm dining room of this midtown restaurant. In addition to the traditional free range turkey with all the old fashioned fixings (mashed potatoes, stuffing, roasted Brussel sprouts and giblet gravy) you will find chateaubriand as well as Scottish salmon for the vegetarians in your group. The restaurant will charge $85 per adult and $45 per child for the meal. Whether you live in the tri-sate region, are in the area visiting family or to see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade I can't think of a better way to make you meal truly stress free.
For those of you who live around the country and are watching the parade or the games on t.v., there are great Thanksgiving menu options at the Craft and Craftsteak restaurants, run by the award winning chef Tom Colicchio, located in Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. (New York too!) The restaurants offer holiday prix fixe menus - everything is served family style, except the choice of main course.
Leave the turkey in the freezer, save it for a random winter weekend, and eat out!