Plan an Amazing Thanksgiving Feast — With Everyone’s Help!

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Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes. Thanksgiving is a food-filled festival of thanks and is a perfect time for family and friends to come together. That is, unless you’re the one doing the hosting. Family traveling across the country to bunk in your too-small guest room? Serving 12 but only have room for 10? Thanksgiving can be stressful if you’re the one doing all of the work. Take a minute and think back to that first Thanksgiving? It took a whole village of Pilgrims and Indians to pull it all together! Keep that in mind when you’re planning your holiday celebration and ditch the martyrdom. Nobody needs to cook, bake, decorate, and clean up all by themselves – who needs that thank-less job!

Sarah on “Embracing Imperfection”

“I have finally learned that it doesn’t have to be perfect for it to be enjoyable or memorable. My husband and I both come from large families, and now that everyone is grown and has kids of their own, it’s even bigger. I couldn’t make the event perfect if I wanted to since it’s just too big, but it has become more about being together than what or where we are eating. Instead of stressing out about every last detail, I try to pick a few things that are important to me and focus on them. For instance, I love centerpieces, so I try to put my energy toward crafting pretty ones instead of worrying whether my napkins are ironed.”

Alicia on “Giving the Gift of Help”

“You know that old adage about how it is better to give than to receive? I think it’s absolutely true, especially when it comes to the holidays. People do really like to help, so enlist them when planning your holiday. Nobody said you had to cook everything, so split it up and hand out assignments to those who ask. They’ll be happy they were able to contribute and you’ll have a lightened load.”
Here are three ways to take the tension out of Thanksgiving:

1. Map It Out

There’s nothing worse than sitting down to dinner, only to realize that you left the sweet potatoes in the fridge. Map out the whole meal, including everything from start to finish. Make your shopping list, figure out who is bringing what, and determine timing for the oven. It even helps to lay out the dishes with notes indicating their contents – you’ll never forget a dish if it’s staring you in the face!

2. Table Setting

The Thanksgiving table is where it all comes together, so spend a few minutes planning out what you will use and if you need to borrow or buy any pieces (like a large platter for the turkey!). Remember that your guests are coming for the event, not to see what your wedding china looks like, so don’t fret if you don’t feel like polishing the silver or don’t have enough salad plates. A pretty table doesn’t have to be formal. Another way to handle the table setting is to get the kids involved. They love to hunt for pinecones for centerpieces or glue feathers onto paper turkeys.

3. Plan Activities for the Little Ones

It is a long day, even for the adults, so make sure the kids have something to do. Put one or two people in charge of coming up with entertaining indoor and outdoor activities to keep the kids (and the parents) from climbing up the walls.

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