Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year. It is when family members from far and wide gather, enjoy a wonderful and well-prepared meal, and go around the table listing their blessings. But Thanksgiving is more than just the signature Hallmark picture of smiling faces sitting around the dinner table with stuffed bellies. In reality, Thanksgiving is a lot of stress. Some might even argue that it is the most stressful time of year and that could be caused by many reasons. For one, not all families get along and Thanksgiving is one of the biggest holidays where large family gatherings are to be expected. Additionally, Thanksgiving requires a ton of preparation. We are talking at the very least a couple of days because that is how long it takes a turkey to thaw. Whatever the reason is as to why Thanksgiving is causing you to stress beyond belief, rest assured that there others out there that understand your pain. As luck would have it, I am one of those people and in being one of those people, I have come up with some tips on how to ensure Thanksgiving goes smoothly this year to diminish this year’s holiday stress.
1. When In Doubt, List It Out
Lists are important when you are trying to make sure everything goes smoothly. Make a list of the people you want to invite over, make a list of the groceries you need to buy, make a list of all the recipes you need to know, make a list of all the guests’ food allergies, etc. Lists allow you to visualize all you need to get done and it helps give you peace of mind that you covered all of your bases.
2. Preparation Is Key
Give yourself enough time to properly prepare for everything. Do not cram the preparation of this major event. You do not want to end up driving to every grocery within a 100-mile radius trying to find a turkey the day before Thanksgiving. I would begin thinking about and executing Thanksgiving preparations at least 2 weeks before the actual family-gathering date. This way, you aren’t pushed for time and you can plan for Thanksgiving leisurely instead of with gut-wrenching pressure. Buy all your ingredients early, find the recipes you want to try out early, do everything that you can early because it will save you loads of stress in the long run.
3. Get A Team Going
Seek help when trying to prepare for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a family event so recruit the family to help with the preparations for it. This shouldn’t be a one-woman show. You are human, not a robot. You will require some help in the kitchen and in the dining room if you want to not end up pulling your hair out.
4. Develop Some Conversation Skills
For when discussions might take a turn during Thanksgiving dinner, it is essential to know how to navigate awkward, uncomfortable, or angering situations. It is one day out of the whole entire year, so it would be a shame for it to be full of fighting or general unpleasantness. I guarantee you that if you pick up some conversation shifters or take up some breathing techniques that you won’t regret it. Do this, and when Uncle Bill pesters you about your life decisions, you will know to just take three deep breathes and switch over the conversation to talk of the latest football game. It is best to prepare and anticipate for interactions like that one just in case they do happen.
5. Set Up Boundaries
If you do not want to have to deal with learning new skills and techniques though, you can always implement a rule where certain topics are not allowed to be brought up to avoid any possible arguing. The most common family rule that I have heard been applied is the “no-politics rule.” However, telling people not to talk about something can make them want to do it even more, so I would be careful with that one.
6. Keep The Children Busy
If you are worried about kids screaming, running around, and causing chaos, my best advice to you is to set aside some activities for them. Have some board games or some drawing material placed out somewhere. If that is not an option, have the TV playing for them or have some videogames available for them to play. As long as the kids have something to do, they will be less inclined to make trouble. When kids are bored, they will be focused on their hunger as well and the last thing you want is for them to be pestering the chef, especially if the chef is you.
7. Have Activities For The Adults
The same goes for adults as well, when adults are bored they focus on their hunger and start to become more easily perturbed. To avoid this, have activities (or distractions) out for them as well. This could simply mean that you have music playing for all your guests to enjoy, or having endless wine out for your guests to sip on, or (and this is a common one) having the football game playing on the big screen for everyone to talk about. Activities are going to be your best friend when you are trying to ensure that Thanksgiving goes smoothly.
8. Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself
Lastly, sometimes Thanksgiving can be running smoothly without you even realizing it because you are holding the event to too high of an expectation. No Thanksgiving is ever going to be perfect, and you can’t force everyone to have a good time because that is entirely up to them and completely out of your control. All you can do is have a good attitude, serve good food, and hope for the best.
Hopefully, one of these tips helps make your Thanksgiving go more smoothly this year. Which of these tips sounds most promising to you? Let us know down in the comments below! Feel free to share your Thanksgiving experience too!
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Hello! My name is Sara Bowers and I am a Senior at Azusa Pacific University where I am double majoring in Allied Health and Honors Humanities and minoring in Psychology. As a young girl, I loved to write and English became my favorite subject very quickly. The sciences also intrigued me and I was often told to choose one path, but I did not want to sacrifice either of my passions. It turns out I didn't have to and thanks to the many novels read in my Humanities courses and the writing prompts I tackled alongside them, my love of writing was further affirmed and I grew more confident that I made the correct decision in pursuing both paths. I have a heart for helping people by any means necessary, so if that means helping someone with a physical ailment, informing someone of the best places to eat, or giving tips to calm anxiety, I am all for it. So, there you have it - that's me! Thank you for taking the time out of your day to get to know me a little bit! I hope you stop by and check out more of my articles in the future!