Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday for so many for a number of reasons.  It tends to be one of the less stressful of the holidays and it's a gentle reminder of the biggies coming up, like Christmas, Hanukkah and New Years.

Now I don't want to add stress to your plate, but there is something you should know before you put your turkey in the oven.  Are you ready?  OK here it goes.  DO NOT WASH YOUR BIRD.

You heard right, according to the USDA, washing your turkey can very much increase the chance of spreading bacteria.  You don't want to see your Uncle Josh leave early before he tells every political story he can think of, do you?  Cross contamination is more likely when you splash your surroundings with tainted water from the raw poultry.  And the best way to kill bacteria, is to cook it.

So after you prepare your bird for the oven, make sure you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm soapy water.  After your hands are clean, make sure your wash down your counters and sink with hot, soapy water.  Don't contaminate your dish rag or towels but rather, use paper towels that you can toss out when your are finished.

[via USDA]