Spending time with family stuffing your face is grand – until it isn’t. Ditch the drama this holiday season and eat out for a happier holiday.

It’s hard to overeat

I’ve never been one to pile my plate high with turkey and sides – I’m one of those who can’t have his food touch lest you want me to gag while you’re happily masticating – but I have housed an entire sweet potato pie in one sitting because it was first time tasting it – and Oh. My. God. That’s not my norm though. Considering my aversion to neighboring foodstuffs co-mingling, I can fit about three items on my plate, maybe have a second helping of turkey, and call it an afternoon.

It’s hard to overeat at a holiday meal at a nice restaurant, too. Usually there’s a preset menu that include the holiday staples, and when it’s gone it’s gone. Of course, all bets are off if you’re setting up shop at a holiday buffet. I’ve done that a couple times and required a handcart to carry me out.

It’s something different

If you always spend your holiday dinner at the same house, switch it up this year. Changing a routine every now and again is refreshing, and dining out for Thanksgiving or Christmas is an easy way to do it. Plenty of chain and local restaurants are open for dinner on those days, either with special seasonal menus or their regular fare. 

It’s far less expensive – if you’re the one who usually cooks

I haven’t spent less than $200 on a Thanksgiving meal that I’ve prepared for family and friends in the past. Mains, sides, and their respective (and exhaustive) list of ingredients, plus drinks (soft and hard), ice, and desserts will set you back. Guests usually will bring dishes of their own, but you can never count on that, so it’s best to be prepared. There are a fair amount of leftovers, but that’s just a parting gift I like to offer. Good to have new plastic containers around that guests can take home and never return because you know they’re not going to anyway.

Everybody acts like normal people in public – hopefully

Racists grandpas, criticizing moms, creepy uncles, and badass cousins can turn docile family dinners into a WWE smack down, but people tend to mind their behavior when seated at a restaurant. Your uppity sister and brother-in-law will probably let their kids run wild, but that’s nothing a sweeping foot can’t solve.

There’s no cleanup

Washing a kitchen full of dirty dishes after a holiday meal is a chore, even when you have help. Skip that step and tip the restaurant bussers instead. They deserve a kickback the same as your server, and your kitchen gets to stay fully intact. 

Everybody departs after dinner – and you’re free at last

Guests linger after a family dinner, but even if you get along with them it can be an annoyance when all you want to do is open your parts, have a fart, and nap on the couch. That dream can come true for you this year. Pay the restaurant bill, say your goodbyes, and go your separate ways until the next family reunion or funeral.