Ah, the holidays. Thanksgiving is upon us, and visions of Thanksgiving cocktails are dancing in our heads.There is nothing like getting together with friends and family, gorging on turkey and fixin’s and then getting rip-roaring drunk on holiday-themed cocktails. But as with anything good in life, there are consequences. Terrible, tryptophan-induced consequences.

Hangovers. But not just any hangovers. Thanksgiving hangovers. We’ve all had them and they SUCK. But that’s just how it goes. If you’re gonna spend four hours playing Mahjong with grandma, drinking cranberry schnapps until you’re forced to sneak off and do the heave-o-shame in my mom’s guest bathroom, you’re gonna pay the price, right?

Thanksgiving hangovers

WRONG. It’s true, Thanksgiving hangovers are their own little hell. Between the amount of food you force down your gullet to the insane number of drinks you’ll inevitable have, the stakes are definitely raised. But there is hope. Here are the five ways that Thanksgiving hangovers are the worst and tips on how to deal.

5. You start drinking WAY too early

thanksgiving hangovers

Unlike your typical weekend rager, on Thanksgiving you probably start drinking well before dinnertime (or even before noon, if you’re my family). This makes the subsequent hangover so much worse the next day.

How to deal: No matter how early you’re having dinner, eat breakfast. And I’m not just talking lame old Bran Flakes (one you really never torture themselves with this cardboard-esque “cereal”). Nope, you need protein, carbs and fat to sop up all the booze you’ll be having soon.

4. Stress = More drinking


Thanksgiving is one of the most stressful times of year, even if you have a Brady Bunch family (and you don’t). This will probably make you not only drink earlier, but also faster. Nothing breaks up the tension of being asked while you’re still single than pouring yet another pumpkin martini.

How to deal: I find that preparing a few go-to statement for awkward questions can help alleviate the tension. When Drunky Aunt Ida asks when you’re having a baby, you can say something like “Oh, once I can whittle my bang-list down to less than five dudes!” Problem solved! Obviously I’m kidding. It is a good idea to be aware of the stress triggers you’ll be facing so you can watch how much extra you’re drinking. You’ll thank me later.

3. Tryptophan Hell

Thanksgiving hangovers

Okay, so the whole tryptophan thing is an old wives’ tale. Apparently you could eat everything but the turkey and still fall into a drooling mess of sleep a few hours later. There’s nothing like eating enough calories to last you a week in one sitting to make you groggy. This grogginess seems to linger for hours, even days, and what’s worse than feeling like a bloated, hungover mess all weekend?

How to deal: Once again, this comes back to not starving yourself all day. Besides eating some sort of balanced (read: bacon-filled) breakfast, you should most definitely partake in whatever snacks are available before dinner. The key is to not force your blood sugar to spike, which will put you out of sorts.

2. You’re gonna drink a ton of hard liquor

Thanksgiving hangovers

This won’t be true for everyone, but typically people drink a lot more cocktails and/or wine on Thanksgiving. This is gonna jack up your hangover compared to what you’d experience after a night of beer pong at the local pub. Too much of your mom’s “Dirty Fall Sangria” and you’ll spend the next day praying to the porcelain pee goddess, wishing you’d never been born.

How to deal: You gotta stay hydrated. And not with more booze. Experts say to match every alcoholic drink with a water or juice, but who the hell is gonna do that when there is turkey to eat and in-laws to avoid? Just try to grab a glass of water or two throughout the night, and maybe limit your hard alcohol intake. There is nothing wrong with grabbing a beer or two to stave off the puke-monster.

1. You’re gonna look like hell

thanksgiving hangovers


Between the liquor, the stress, the 10,000 calories you just crammed down, and the fact that you started drinking at dawn, you will look like a mess if you don’t take some precautions. As much fun as waking up on your mother-in-law’s guestroom futon, with mascara streaming down your face and a turkey sweater covered in spew sounds, no one wants to see that.

How to deal: Plan ahead. If you’re staying at someone’s house, make sure to bring the proper toiletries. I mean, obviously you’re gonna have your toothbrush (right? right?) but what about eye makeup remover? When in doubt, make sure you have a pair of trust over-sized sunglasses available. You might feel like a piece of roasted, chewed up beef jerky on the inside, but you can still channel Holly Golightly on the outside. Or at least you can tell yourself that.