I have a fun Thanksgiving tradition. I get together with a group of people I used to work with right after college – and we have a mini “Friends-giving.” The tradition started a long time ago before most of us had families or big dining rooms and kitchens. Before most of us knew how to cook – or wanted to learn. The focus wasn’t on the food. It was about getting together. We bought all the food and sides from a rotisserie chicken place and it was a feast.
Now our families have grown, and so have our taste buds. Over the years, people have started cooking real, delicious food. They’ve brined turkeys, mashed potatoes, made pie crusts — from scratch!
This year, I am hosting. And I here’s my secret: I’m going back to getting take-out. It’s all part of my goal on being “less perfect” and focusing on what’s really important. The purpose of this is to be together. It was never about the food.
Thanksgiving can get so stressful. Add kids, in-laws and a house packed with guests to the mix and suddenly you can’t wait to gobble down your food and get everyone out the door. I suggest adopting a little bit of my “less perfect” plan for your holiday too (No, I don’t only mean getting fast-food!). Here are some ideas:
- Buy your appetizers. They’re not the main event!
- Ask everyone to bring one side dish or a dessert.
- Make two kid-friendly foods so you don’t have to hear whining if they don’t eat turkey (microwavable macaroni counts!). (Here are 9 kid-friendly recipes)
- Cook your favorite dish (you will really look forward to eating it!)
- Assign chores, even to the kids. Do this a week in advance, and start jobs 2 days before.
- Get kids to create the table décor. That way, it’s not perfect — it’s adorable!
- Hire a house cleaner or Care gig runner to do errands, set up or clean up. The more work (or kids) you have, the more helpful this will be. (Or book a sitter so you can prep in peace!)
- Focus on being together. Find a game for the kids to play together (here are some kiddie table activities), and another game for the adults to play after the kids go to bed. This should be fun and festive. The dishes can wait for Friday!
Tell me, what is your best tip to stay calm over the holidays?