Americans are gearing up for Thanksgiving. What that means is that families are stressing out about Turkey Day grocery shopping, house-cleaning, decorating, recipes, party games, transportation of family members, dinner conversation taboos, hosting etiquette, where to house all of the out-of-town family members who will be arriving and all of the other things on our To-do list to be prepared for the big day. It also represents all of the business of getting ready for Christmas, which is just around the corner. It is a wonderful, yet extremely stressful time of year for many families.
Of course, what Thanksgiving REALLY represents is an opportunity to fill our homes with people we love and express thanks for all that we have in our lives. How wonderful to have an opportunity to pause and reflect on the good things that surround us, especially when the world has been focused so much on the bad news lately.
I am thankful for the mess to clean after our Thanksgiving events because it means I have been surrounded by friends and family!
There are plenty of simple things we can all do to reduce the Thanksgiving holiday stress and enjoy the reason for the season:
Have a plan and get organized. Make a list of everything you need and then shop early. Prepare ahead of time as many of the food dishes as you can. You'll spend less time in the kitchen on the big day. Simplify the menu. Defrost the turkey with plenty of time to spare! Buy it. Restaurants and grocery stores can help out your time crunch when you purchase some of their prepared foods . . . guilt-free. Organize some crafts and activities to keep the little ones busy and happy. Plan an after-dinner activity, such as a service project. Don’t try a new recipe for the first time on the big day. Clean the oven before the big day of cooking so the food doesn’t get any odd flavors. Get help. Guests often want to be helpful, so don’t be shy about assigning tasks. Hit the road. There is no shame in going OUT for dinner on Thanksgiving. Support a local restaurant. Serve at the local soup kitchen on Thanksgiving Day. Enjoy the day! There is no use sweating the small stuff . . . and this is all small stuff. Years from now, people may not remember what food was served, what words were spoken, or even what they did on Thanksgiving Day, but they will always remember how they felt. Fill your home with love, kind words, and lots of gratitude.
Thanksgiving can really be broken down into two parts: Thanks and Giving. Fill your Turkey Day with both! Involve your children in making the decorations and place settings. The crafts will keep them busy and allow them to feel a part of the festivities. It's all about family!