Are you the one scraping sticky marshmallowed yams and congealed gravy off the dishes every Thanksgiving? Shame someone else into doing it this year.
Step 1: Single out targets When discussing who will bring what, single out your targets—the guests who can't cook—and say, "How about bringing a dish towel? I could really use some help with the dishes this year."
Step 2: Post a list of duties Post a master Thanksgiving list—in a very visible location—that shows whose duty is what. Use a larger font for the dishwashers so everyone knows who's on KP duty.
TIP: Not comfortable asking guests to do the dishes? Before they arrive, put on a fake arm cast. Be vague about what happened, but say the doctor told you not to get it wet.
Step 3: Express gratitude at table At the table, ask your guests to share what they're thankful for. When it's your turn, pause dramatically before expressing your profound gratitude for Aunt Henrietta and cousin Mabel, who have graciously offered to do the dishes.
TIP: Monitor the alcohol consumption of your designated dishwashers—you don't want them so tipsy that they break your good china.
Step 4: Hire help As a last resort, hire help. Check bulletin boards for people who'd prefer making money to eating turkey.
FACT: A quarter of the people polled in a 2006 survey said that the guest they'd most want at their Thanksgiving dinner was Oprah Winfrey—follwed by Scarlett Johansson.