This Thanksgiving, give yourself less stress and more to be thankful for with these helpful tips.
Here's a holiday checklist for a happier, more harmonious holiday.
Make it a Group Effort
Put the focus on each other rather than the event. If you are hosting, swallow your pride and let people help! If people offer to bring food, let them. If they offer to help set the table or do the dishes afterwards, graciously accept. Let people enjoy doing tasks together. Then you can be grateful for the friends and family who have gathered on this day.
Cook Only What You Love to Eat
If you have a few dishes you love to make, make them! Fussy eaters in the family? No problem. Eliminate worries over diets or food allergies by allowing others to bring their favorite dishes. Let people know what dish—a salad, side dish or dessert—would best complete your meal. Then you can be grateful that, this year, everyone loved the menu!
Agree on a Shared Experience
Expectations run especially high during the holidays. Are there Thanksgiving traditions you want to follow but may upset Uncle Al? Do a little discovery before the big day. Are all the in-laws expecting to watch the football game after dessert? Are you hoping to play board games? Find out and see who wants what and who is willing to compromise. Then you can be grateful for all your choices!
Prepare Ahead of Time
Try to make a few of the dishes the day before. Choose some of the more time consuming preparation to get out of the way. Chopping vegetables, brining the turkey, measuring out and combining all the dry ingredients for your baking ahead of time will make everything go more smoothly the next day. If you can, set the table the day before also. Then you can be grateful all this work is done when it comes time to simply sit and enjoy!
Read the Directions
If you are doing the turkey honors, remember that every bird is unique. Even if you've cooked a dozen turkeys in the past, it's always useful to read the directions. This year, your turkey might be larger or smaller. You'll feel more confident if you familiarize yourself with this bird's cooking time and temperature. Also, decide if you're going to use an oven bag, a roasting pan or some other method for your perfect turkey. Get your holiday 'playbook' strategy down, then you can be grateful you took the guesswork out of your cooking.
Allow for Mistakes
Ok, so the turkey got a little overcooked. You also forgot to get whipped cream for the pie. Big deal. Wasn't it because you were too busy picking up Aunt Claire from a crowded airport? Were you laughing your head off with your cousin Chris and forgot to set the timer? Remember, the people who are sharing your Thanksgiving dinner are almost always friends, family or both. Take time to appreciate everyone's imperfections. Then you can be grateful to be lighthearted and less attached to the outcome.
Get Your Zzzs
Make sure you are rested before heading into the holiday fray. No matter how resolved you think you are about old family conflicts, all holiday gatherings have a mystical way of dredging up old energies. Get enough sleep so you'll have the upper hand on a potentially emotionally draining day. Then you can be grateful you know how to care about yourself
Try some or all of these tips to change the energy at your holiday table this year!