It’s that time of year again. The time of year when families around the world prepare food, eat glorified meals, share thanks with loved ones, and, if not careful, experience the dreadful food coma. And even with the overeating and stress of planning, we do it every year because the memories we associate with Thanksgiving bring us joy and a special appreciation for the little things in our lives. This beloved holiday marks the beginning of a heightened focus on kindness and love that no other time of year gives us.
Let us all focus more on the love this season brings and less on the stress of preparing the best Thanksgiving meal. If being in the kitchen is how you show your love, and brings you happiness, then, by all means, bake till your hearts content; part of the fun of Thanksgiving comes when mothers, fathers and children spend hours whipping up coconut cream pies, basting turkeys and taste-testing other mouthwatering favorites. But, as an early Christmas present from us to you, use our tips below to help you make thanksgiving a little less stressful and a lot more intentional.
Buy Pie Crust
Many would agree that Thanksgiving isn't complete without a slice of warm apple pie with notes of cinnamon and caramel and the saltiness from a flaky crust. Agreed. You can’t do a Thanksgiving feast without pie. But here’s a little secret, if you want to make your own pie crust, go for it, but if you need permission to skip that step, then, hear it is! Buy a pie crust at the store. Just this simple tip will free up hours for you to spend with your kiddos or get some early Christmas shopping done.
Go out to Eat
This tip is just a funny way of saying: Make Thanksgiving your own this year. If you feel like you don’t have the bandwidth to make an extravagant meal, or maybe you have a family member who is ill and needs your attention, please know that it is okay to make your own rules this year. For example, go out to the fanciest restaurant you can think of, and relish in a three-course meal. Adventure away from turkey and mashed potatoes, and explore Thai or Indian food. Make a charcuterie board and have a picnic in the coziness of your own family room while watching a favorite holiday movie. No matter what you do, make the most of it, have fun and remember to tell each other how much you care.
Entertain the Kiddos
If you look forward to sitting around the living room with family, eating pie and relaxing uninterrupted while your kids are off playing with their cousins, then this tip is for you. Have every couple bring a handful of games their children like to play. Get creative: Twister, Candy Land, Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza, card games, blocks, Sorry, Life, puzzles, etc. Place the games in one room of the house and let them go crazy. Here’s a tip inside a tip. For ongoing fun and entertainment for your kiddos, get them a StairSlide as an early Christmas present. Sliding down and climbing up the stairs for hours will not only be exciting, but will make for an easy bedtime routine.
This may be difficult to believe, but turkey prep can be the easiest part of Thanksgiving if you time it right. Instead of preparing the bird the morning of, defrost the turkey in the refrigerator, toss the insides and rub in herbs and spices the day before. To make it even easier, a couple weeks before the holidays be on lookout for a good whole bird sale. Usually, they begin a month before Thanksgiving. Lastly, be sure to check out the recipes below, so you can cook the perfect turkey without all the hastle.
Part of the reason we feel like Thanksgiving is stressful is partly because we tend to think “it’s all on me.” You may feel this way, and if you do, listen to this one piece of advice. Give assignments. You’ll find that when you assign each family member a different task, like baking a pumpkin pie, bringing the turkey and a couple salads, or even cleaning up afterwards, it will make the day feel more doable and enjoyable.
Think back on a time when you brought your kids to the grocery store with you. Some days they act sweet and calm, and other days it seems like they reach for everything on the shelves and fall apart in the isles. Yes, it’s good for kids to get out of the house, but ordering your groceries and having them delivered to your door alleviates you from an extra to-do and, in replace of the car ride to the store, gives you time to play with your kids at the park.
We hope this gift aids in setting aside stress and giving you a Thanksgiving that’s focused on love and gratitude, gratitude for the little things that we so often set aside. Cheers for all of life’s blessings, and in honor of this unique time where we get to slow down, let us remember these wise words from Deitrich Bonhoeffer, German theologian, “it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”