Thanksgiving, you might have noticed, is almost here. Which means every media outlet (us included) is bombarding you with stories about where to go to spend a fortune on a "gourmet" turkey dinner, how to cook your heritage bird just so, and how to make sure your heirloom potatoes are mashed just enough (but not too much) by whipping them at a 30° angle. And y'know what? Pluck that noise.

Thanksgiving is a holiday for giving thanks, and some of us really don't see any reason to be thankful for spending a day slaving away in a kitchen. Some of us would much prefer to spend the holiday in our tiny apartments with our friends (okay, our cats) eating the canned and boxed foods we grew up on, and maybe even watching a football game. Luckily, the American food-industrial complex has us covered.

To make your cheap-ass Thanksgiving golden we offer you a few alternatives to the standard T-day dishes:

The Turkey: The biggest hassle of the meal is, and always will be, buying and cooking the damn bird. Brining it, basting it, whatever. It never seems to work out right. So we say forget about it. Everyone's favorite part of Thanksgiving is always the leftover sandwiches the next day anyway, so just buy some deli meat and some Wonder bread and just cut to the chase. Fine, don't want deli meat? You can get a microwavable turkey dinner in most frozen food sections. Or, you could buy a rotisserie chicken from the market. Or! Forget the bird entirely and entertain your cats with spiral hot dogs.

The Super Easy Sides: It really doesn't take long at all to make Thanksgiving dinner once you decide to go prepackaged. First off, everyone prefers canned cranberry sauce anyway, so that's a no-brainer. Mashed potatoes? Who needs real potatoes, just get a box of the instant stuff and you are done. Stuffing? Did those Stove Top commercials from your youth teach you nothing? And don't forget about the can of turkey gravy (of which there are a shockingly wide variety).

The Slightly Complex Sides: Fine, you want to actually cook something for the holiday. If you insist. But why do something fresh or harvest-y when you can make a classic dish just like Aunt Undine used to make? Y'know, like a green bean casserole using a can of cream of mushroom soup, some frozen green beans, and a box of fried onions? French's even has a video recipe right here! Another side option you certainly know how to make? Mac 'n' Cheese.

The Dessert: What you serve for dessert really depends on how adventurous you want to get. An Entenmann's whatever will clearly do, but if you want to get adventurous you can always make some pans of Jell-o and let your friends cut out turkey shapes (think they used to call those "jigglers"). Or make one of the many, many recipes out there that involve cooking with Twinkies (we're partial to the Twinkie Fantasy and the Twinkie Tacos). And if you want to get downright semi-home made you could make a Ritz-cracker pie or a Miracle Whip cake (and trust us, you don't want to use mayonnaise instead of the Whip!).

The Drinks: Finally, the most important part of the evening! Forget a fancy harvest punch or a floral wine or whatever. Just get a few cases or bottles of whatever you and your friends like and drink that.

All that too much for you? No problem! You can always just go Charlie Brown-style and stock up on some toast, pretzels, popcorn, jelly beans, whip cream and cherries and call it a day.

Oh, and as for your friends cats? Why not get them a can of Thanksgiving Day Dinner Cat Food?