If you don't think Thanksgiving is the best holiday of the year, I pity you.
I pity you because you must not have anyone in your family with even a semblance of cooking skills or you don't have any good cousins.
Because when it comes to holidays, what can possibly beat eating warm, hearty American food dripping in gravy around a decorated table with the people you love most?
Unlike your average family dinners, this one has so many layers. Within those layers of chocolate desserts, loaded mashed potatoes and flowing bottles of red wine, is the fold of people.
It's the people you've known longest in this world, but see less often. It's the people you've known since childhood and shared every holiday with for as long as you can remember.
They're your friends, your partners in crime and the only people who will get drunk with you at the kids' table.
Without our cousins, the holiday is just another boring family dinner. It's casual small talk of limited topics and stories that are never appropriate for our parents' judgmental ears.
There are no tales of nights out, no shots in the kitchen and definitely no sh*t-talking the aunt you all hate. Because what's a table of great food without good company?
If there's one thing that Thanksgiving makes you thankful for, it's the cousins you couldn't get through the holiday without.
1. Because they'll smoke with you in the bathroom before the food comes out.
Their mom brings the mashed potatoes, but they bring the bowl.
2. Because they know better than to ask about your love life.
They understand that asking why you're still single doesn't come from a place of concern, but from an assh*le.
3. Because you can comfortably talk sh*t about your annoying uncle with them.
Sh*t-talking is a language spoken fluently from generation to generation.
4. Because they don't judge you when you get far too drunk.
Unlike your mom, they won't send you to your room.
5. Because you know that one of them is going to get way drunker than you.
It's the principle of outliers: You can get as drunk as you want knowing you won't be the worst in the room. Remember, the drunkest one is the only one anyone's going to remember.
6. Because they're your oldest friends.
You might not see them as regularly as your school friends or coworkers, but the relationship is just as consistent.
7. No matter how long you've been apart, it's never awkward.
The time apart just gives you more time to collect stories to share with each other.
8. There's always something to talk about.
Unlike "how you're doing in school" and "where you're working these days," the conversation isn't limited to five questions and answers.
9. Your parents already love them.
Unlike your wild friends -- who took shots in the house that one time -- your mom will never tell you she'd like it if you stopped hanging out with them.
10. They'll gladly sit around and do nothing with you.
When you're so full you can't even talk, they're the perfect people to lie on the couch with, not wasting energy searching for the remote. You can sit and moan in silence together for hours.
11. They'll be on your team when you build your mashed potato volcano.
Finally some praise for how well you've perfected the art of the gravy width-to-depth ratio.
12. They know better than to pass you whatever food you hate.
They're not going to pass you the green beans five times in hopes that on the fourth time you get the hint that you need to eat more vegetables. This is Thanksgiving! They know you're not trying to fill up on greens.
13. While everyone else is clearing the table, they're taking shots with you.
When the parents are cleaning up and talking about going to bed, you have someone to plan the second round of the night with.
14. They're just as hungover as you are from the night before.
You no longer have to pretend you don't have that wicked hangover from the bar last night. Finally, you can commiserate with someone who is also regretting those Fireball shots.
15. They know better than to dress to impress.
Sweatpants and extra large sweatshirts all the way, baby.