One of our all-time favorite things about the Friends franchise was the annual Thanksgiving episodes. Although most of the plot lines revolved around remotely plausible, albeit ridiculous, situations (Emma’s secret beauty pageant, the accidental beef trifle, three different kinds of potatoes ruined), there was always one Thanksgiving moment that rang so true to us, it felt like there was finally a sitcom that understood us in our souls: Joey’s Thanksgiving pants.
At the core of the humor is an astute recognition of what Thanksgiving is really all about: celebrating the loved ones and joy in your life by eating more food than God intended the human stomach to hold in one sitting. And then adding pumpkin pie to the mix.
And for us, this is the true spirit of this sacred American holiday. Sure, other holidays involve eating, but Thanksgiving is the only one in which eating is the sole activity of the day. Halloween may be accompanied by sugar highs and trails of empty Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup wrappers, but there’s that trick-or-treating cardio that totally justifies the candy binge. And Christmas packs in the egg nog, cookies, and hot chocolate, but there’s just enough present-unwrapping to keep your hands busy, thus rendering you incapable of shoveling handfuls of marshmallows down your craw like a savage mistletoe beast. And New Years, though it rings with the merriment of heavy appetizers for the child-less and deep-dish pizza on the couch for the young parents, it’s really all about the drinking, not the eating. It’s only that one beautiful day a year on which the bell tolls for naught but the turkey. And that day, my friends, calls for special pants that will allow your stomach to swell with red-blooded American pride.
But, alas, we still have decorum to contend with, and most families frown upon sweatpants at a feast that involves Grandma’s china. So, since we all still have to look like respectable adults around the cornucopia, may we humbly suggest one small rule for your Thanksgiving Day outfit(s)? No zippers and no buttons near your waist. It’s that simple. Zippers and buttons are meant to contain both your spirit and your muffin top. There’s no wiggle room. There’s no give. And who wants to take the give out of Thanksgiving? So as you raid your closet on Thanksgiving Eve to find the perfect outfit that’s conservative enough for Grandpa, dressy enough for Mom, and breathable enough for chasing crazed toddlers, look into options (for both the dinner and post-dinner) that remind you of maternity pants. There are plenty of cute, stretchy fabrics out there in an array of styles to simultaneously camouflage your gut and encourage its expansion. Find them and cherish them. They’re your freedom pants.
Some ideal Thanksgiving options for the non-preggos: