When everyone walks into your home on Thanksgiving Day, they will likely see an organized home set with holiday décor and warmed with the aromas of our favorite meals. What they typically won’t see is the time (and stress) that went into planning a perfect day. Here are some tips on mentally, physically and financially planning an easy Thanksgiving gathering:
Give up the notion of perfection
The truth is, no matter what you do, nothing is ever perfect. Do your best to create a great meal and experience for your guests, but try not to focus on achieving perfection. Doing this will help to keep stress and anxiety at bay.
Prepare, prepare, prepare
If you are the host, get ready for a busy week. Between prep work, the actual day’s to-dos and the aftermath you will be moving nonstop. Plan, buy and prepare everything for your Thanksgiving gathering in advance. Purchase non-perishable items at least a week in advance and make sure your cooking supplies and electronics are working and ready to go. If there is anything you can prepare in advance, (like the pie crust, for example) do so. Being prepared ahead of time helps you to feel ready and keeps you more relaxed on game day.
Pick a menu and stick to it
In our quest to please everyone, we sometimes add more and more items to the menu. Plan your menu in advance and avoid any last-minute additions unless they are absolutely necessary. This will also help you to manage your meal budget.
Ask for help
Our knee-jerk response to the questions: “Do you need help?” and “what can I bring?” are often “no” and “nothing.” Keep in mind that your guests are honored to assist, and sharing the load will make your life easier. It will also give you more time to spend with your loved ones instead of being stuck in the kitchen cooking and cleaning. Help can come in the form of bringing a dish, helping to set or clear the table or leading the games and activities you have planned for the day.
Start with a budget
Determine what your budget is and use that as a guide for planning your meal, décor and activities. Starting with a budget in mind allows you to stay within your means and identify areas where you may need help from your friends and family. Ideas for staying within your budget include incorporating more vegan recipes (meat is usually the most expensive menu item), making less dishes or offering less alcoholic beverages.
Get your rest!
While preparing for the holiday, don’t forget to rest. Resting ensures that you are in a better mood and that you do not trigger any existing mental or physical ailments that are activated by stress.
Start with these tips and this could be your easiest holiday yet!