We all do it, in our minds. We write up a list of one million things that just have to be done before we can be thankful. If all doesn’t go as planned then our Thanksgiving can’t be a real success. Things like the perfect table setting, the cleanest house, more food than ever before, stunning decorations, and elaborate desserts. We spend hours scrolling through Pinterest to make sure that our homes will be the best they can be when the family finally arrives.
Now add to that massive undertaking a helping of the everyday to-do items that were already too much. Not to mention, all of the work to clean up the mess afterward and the thought of a not so happy family gathering begins to loom before you.
1 – A Way To Be Thankful
STOP, and think about what it is we are celebrating. Is it the perfect home that looks like it just came out of a Hallmark movie or the dinner that looks like it was from a Norman Rockwell painting? While the media constantly inundates us with ways to make our holidays perfect, they usually end up making us unhappy. Instead of spending an hour on Pinterest tonight, think about each person who will be at your coming dinner, and write down one thing about them that you are thankful for. Write this on a blank card, and put their name on the front. Wala, you’ve just made a place setting, and your guests have a gift that will be memorable.
2 – Be Thankful For Simplicity
What is it that you remember the most about your Grandma’s thanksgiving dinner? Was it the dishes or the food? The crowded room filled with people you love or a well-organized social hall? Don’t overthink the holidays. Not everything has to fit and be perfect. After all, it’s usually the little quirks that we remember the most anyway. For example, my grandparents always had a kids table and an adult’s table. But my Pap sat at the head of the kid’s table. We all had our place and it made the holidays special. For some, it was on the sofa and for others, it was on the hearth, but we were happy just to be at my grandparent’s home.
Keep it simple, and don’t worry about keeping everyone happy, because that’s impossible. It’s okay to use solo cups and paper plates. As a matter of fact, even a plastic disposable tablecloth is okay too. Above all be thankful for what you do have not unhappy about what you don’t have. Imagine, if you didn’t have anything to give but a PB & J sandwich for dinner, would you still be thankful? If so, then you’ve found that simplicity is a great reason to be thankful.
3 – A List To Be Thankful For
All of those to-do lists that keep going around in your head, get it out of your head and onto a piece of paper. Once you put them on paper, they become a manageable list of items that you can check off. Otherwise, they just keep running in circles in your head and piling up in there. Yes, that sleepless night could have been avoided if you would just put your thoughts into a list. And you may be surprised to find out that those 5 million things that you need to do before thanksgiving dinner are really only 20 things that will take an hour.
So give thanks for a to-do list, it will keep you moving forward without panicking.
4 – Be Thankful For Help
Daily tasks can be made easier. Now that you have a to-do list, look at it and think of anything that you can do easier with help from someone else. Can it be delegated out to a family member? While you’re at that Dr. Appt. stop browsing Pinterest or playing games, and order your groceries online. Then pick them up on your way home. Places like Target and Walmart will keep you in your car and move your day-to-day tasks along faster. Instead of doing laundry during the holiday season, why not drop-off your laundry at Spot and cross that chore off your list for the month of November. Find ways to make your daily tasks more manageable and you’ll be thankful long after the holidays are over too.
5 – Pre-prep The Food With Thanksgiving
Keep your menu simple, and don’t overdo it. My husband brought to our relationship a vastly different menu for the holidays than what my family was accustomed to. My family is traditional turkey, ham, and mashed potatoes, and his family’s menu was seafood and soups. But I’m thankful for the variety because now we can enjoy a wide variety of food.
But no matter what your menu, getting hot food on the table is still a stressful time. Prepare food that keeps well, and that you can put into a slow cooker or baking dish with lids so that when the guests arrive you can spend your time with them. I do my turkey the day before, slice it, and put it into a baking pan with turkey broth on it. It’s super moist and easy to re-heat the next day. Plus you can make the gravy in advance too. If you use metal baking pans with lids, you can stack a bunch of stuff in the oven for easier reheating.
A Thankful Re-cap
- Share with others what you are thankful for about them.
- Keep everything simple.
- Make a list of to-do items, and check them off as you go.
- Get help with your day-to-day tasks.
- Pre-prep the food.
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