Raise your hand if you’ve ever been personally victimized by a needlessly stressful Thanksgiving dinner. You know the kind I’m talking about where little Timmy is running around trying to murder his cousins, Grandma and Grandpa are facing off about the moistness or lack thereof of the turkey, your aunt Gretchen is grilling you for the fourteenth year in a row why you don’t have a boyfriend yet, and everything around you seems to be in chaos. While you’re all supposed to be sitting around enjoying each other’s company and being grateful for this moment in time and all of your life blessings, instead you’re counting down the minutes until you can make a graceful exit and keeping a tally of how many cuss words have been shouted during the night.
I’m sure nearly everyone can relate with this chaotic setting. The holidays are super rewarding and fun, but they can also be a major headache, especially if you’re the hosting house and have to plan everything. That’s why today we’re going to focus on a few things you can implement this year, and for future holiday gatherings, that can hopefully ease some of that stress and allow you to focus on the positive and important things like your family and friends you’re sharing your day with.
Life Hack #1
Have Dinner On Paper Plates
Now, this sounds odd at first glance. In fact, my own grandmother ripped off my head the first year I suggested it because for her Thanksgiving is about presentation and having a stereotypically “nice” meal. Paper plates and nice don’t generally go hand in hand, however, there are paper plates out there that look super classy! Using disposable plates allows everyone to relax after dinner and hang out and play games rather than jumping to do the dishes the moment the forks are down.
Life Hack #2
Order Dinner Out
This sort of falls under the same vein as the first hack. Normally, the most stressed out people are the ones who end up doing the majority of the cooking and cleaning. If you have someone in your family who legitimately LOVES cooking and enjoys getting the traditional fixings ready, then by all means let them do so, but if it is a chore for your family and a “nose goes” situation for who cooks each year then perhaps ordering food and splitting the bill can save a headache or two. There are high end catering options like Whole Foods as well as more budget friendly carry-out options from places like Cracker Barrel or your local grocery store.
Life Hack #3
Have Conversation Starters
For some families, Thanksgiving is the one time of year they get together and it can be awkward to say the least. Picking up a game like Icebreaker or the Party Qsapp can be a great way to circumvent uncomfortable silences before they happen. If you have a particularly divided or heated family you may want to make sure you remove questions to do with politics or other fiery topics, but these games will definitely keep you guys on your toes and communicating with one another regardless. Who knows, maybe you’ll even learn something new about each other that you never would have otherwise!
Life Hack #4
Plan A Seating Chart
This is another one that is usually an issue in larger families, who sits where? To avoid any potential awkwardness or confrontation or complaining, set up a seating chart beforehand so nobody gets to decide where they sit. This ensures that nobody feels like an outcast or the one people don’t want to sit by, as well as nobody is Miss Popularity and gets an ego from everybody wanting to be by them. This also helps kids feel more welcome and get to know people easier because they don’t have to stress about where they will end up.
Life Hack #5
KeepThe Meal Simple
You really don’t need a pie per person, mashed potatoes and yams and sweet potatoes (is there even a difference between yams and sweet potatoes or is it all just a marketing façade?) The point is, dinner can be delicious and enjoyable and simple. Maybe your family really only loves the turkey and the rolls, why bother making all of the other parts of the meal out of tradition? Maybe your family doesn’t like any of it and would rather order pizza, that’s cool too! The day is about your family and can be as simple and sweet as you would like. Don’t feel pressured to keep up with appearances and tradition if it makes you stressed.
Hopefully these few tips help make Thanksgiving a little less chaotic this year. Remember that all it comes down to really is appreciating what you have and spending time with the ones you love. Depending on where you live, in person Thanksgiving may not be an option this year. If that is the case, see if you can set up a virtual Thanksgiving so you can all share a meal separately and still see your loved ones. Although change is hard, try to look on the bright side, nobody can judge you for showing up in PJs and you don’t have to feed an army!
However you are spending Thanksgiving this year, we here at PennyProfit wish you the best, most happy Thanksgiving yet!