Tips for a Less Stressful Thanksgiving

Hosting Thanksgiving this year? I hate to break it to you, but no matter how much you plan, if your household is anything like mine, you will have half naked tiny humans running around refusing to wear their designated “Thanksgiving Attire,” as your guests arrive 45 minutes early, to a hectic kitchen, a burned casserole (or two) and a husband rushing around the yard trying to finish blowing the leaves so Uncle Fred can find the driveway.

Here are a few tips to help make your Thanksgiving Morning run a little more smoothly.

1. Prep the day before.  Anything from clothes for the tiny humans to food. Make sure outfits are clean and laid out. Let the kiddos know before they go to bed that their clothes are laid out and to get up and get dressed just like they would on a school day. For food: Items such as potatoes, vegetables, and casseroles, as well as some desserts, can be made the day before. If you leave it all to the day of your big feast you’re setting yourself up for a very stressful morning.

Speaking of stress…

2. Don’t stress your kids out. You stressing out, will stress them out, leading to epic meltdowns and puddles of children on your kitchen floor. Remember to keep your expectations of them in check. You’ve dressed them up, you’re asking them to interact with adults, a lot of them they see only a couple of times a year, and you’re expecting them to eat foods they probably never see except at the Thanksgiving or Christmas table. Assign the most laid back family member you have to them and let them play until dinner is served. Have a couple of board games, crafts and snacks set out to keep them entertained and most of all out of your kitchen.

3. Don’t be a Hero. Don’t be afraid of the word “Potluck.” Potluck is your friend. Keeping your kids alive and cleaning your house is chore enough without the added pressure of doing all of the cooking yourself. In our family everyone has a signature dish and that’s what they bring. It’s almost a requirement.

4. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Remember Thanksgiving is about being Thankful for what we have, and for spending time with our family. If you didn’t have time to iron the table cloth (or even find it.) No biggie, chances are no one is going to notice anyway.

5. Know your Boundaries. Don’t be afraid to say no to taking on any extra tasks, on or around Thanksgiving and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Keep Aunt Sally busy with setting the table, the kids with decorations and if cleaning is stressing you out, spend the extra bucks to have someone come clean for you. It will be well worth the money to keep your sanity in check.

In the end, it doesn’t matter if you forgot the pecan pie, or if the dishes all matched. It’s about spending the day with family and friends and being thankful for them.

What tips do you have for keeping your day on track and as stress free as possible?

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