Thanksgiving should be a time to celebrate family, count your blessings and relax. Unfortunately, it turns into a time of stress and frustration for too many families. With the focus on the meal, it’s hard to sit down and enjoy a board game with the kids or reminisce about childhood memories with your siblings. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be so difficult and challenging. Even if you’re hosting a large gathering, there are ways to make it less work and more fun.
Keep it Simple
You want to make a great impression on your guests with a fancy centerpiece and pristine house, but remember that your friends and family are coming to see you, not the décor. Take some time in the week ahead of the festivities to clean, but keep the centerpieces and extra decorating simple to lower your stress level. One fun and easy centerpiece is a pumpkin that’s been carved out to serve as a holder for potted mums.
Go with the Buffet
Fitting all the people and the food around the table can be impossible. One way to lower your stress level is to stop trying. Set the food up on a counter or special tables, and let people dine cafeteria style. They can make their plate, and then go sit down where they want. You’ll have more space at the table, and you’ll be less likely to over eat.
Make it and Bake it Early
Do what you can in advance. Soups, mashed potatoes, and stuffing can all be made up to three days in advance and popped in the refrigerator. Make your pies in the weeks ahead of time and just freeze them until the big day. Another option is to assign some dishes to the guests. Have your sister bring the mashed potatoes and invite your mother to bring her famous green bean casserole. Get your brother to thrill the little ones by making his homemade fudge and bringing it along. They’ll be happy to help out, and the meal will go more smoothly when you accept the extra assistance.
If you hate cooking, then stop stressing over it. Go with store-bought options. You can maintain the Thanksgiving feel by transferring the dishes to your own serving platters, and you can also dress them up by adding your own whipped toppings or sauces to make them a little more homemade.
The cleanup from the meal can be the worst part. Have guests clean their plates after each course. As you’re waiting for dishes to bake, take the time to do the dishes. Line pots and pans with foil to simplify cleaning afterwards. If something does have grease baked into it, sprinkle a generous layer of baking soda onto the dish with a little water. Let it sit while you eat or entertain your guests, and the greasy mess will wipe out with ease later.
Enjoying the Holidays in New Albany, OH
Your family and friends are coming over to enjoy the day and celebrate being together. It’s natural to want everything to be perfect, but you don’t want to make yourself crazy in the process. Let other people help, go with simple centerpieces, and consider a buffet for easier serving. You can even cheat a little and make items ahead of time or buy frozen pies. With these simple changes, Thanksgiving will be fun again, and you might even have the time to enjoy your family.