How to reduce stress at Thanksgiving

Today we’re sharing our tips of how to reduce stress at Thanksgiving.  This day filled with food and family is a day you look forward to all year long.     

We know how easy preparing for this big day can become both stressful and overwhelming.  It can get stressful no matter if you are hosting, just taking a dish over to a friend or family member’s house or just attending Thanksgiving at another household.  Between preparing food for service at your home or another home and getting your house ready, it’s easy to feel like your list keeps growing and not knowing where to start. 

What do you do when you feel this way?  Do you dive in head first, ask for help or just run away?  We have all been at all of these places at some point.  What is most important is to stop and take a deep breath.  Maybe sit down and make a list and then prioritize this list from most important to least important so you know where to start.    

Our tips of how to reduce stress at Thanksgiving

We’ve put together a few tips and ideas that we have found helpful to reduce the stress and overwhelm of this wonderful food filled celebration.  The overarching theme is to do as much preparation ahead of time as possible.  Especially if you are like us and make everything from scratch, it really helps to try to work ahead of time.   

Do as much prep ahead of time as you can.

Especially in relation to the food and your meal.  Make your baked goods and desserts ahead of time.  If you can prepare part of your dishes or meals ahead of time that will help too.  If are able to cut up vegetables, sauté vegetables or other foods ahead of time this will make preparation of these foods or dishes easier.  Lastly, if you can prepare entire dishes ahead of time so that you are just heating them prior to serving, this will help a lot too. 

Use all your kitchen gadgets.

Use all of your appliances to make cooking easier.  Especially if you’re having trouble keeping foods warm.  This is when you employ your crock pots, instant pots, and other warmers and just put them on the keep warm setting.  That way like any good chef, all of the food will be hot when plated.    

Delegate when you can.

Welcome your friends or family to bring an appetizer, side dish, rolls, or dessert.  Delegate where you can and allow yourself to receive help from others to help lighten your load.   

Simplify your meal plan.

It’s easy to come up with 10+ sides in addition to the turkey just for your thanksgiving meal.  Sit down with your family or friends and decide what everyone loves or has to have and try to reduce the number of dishes to prepare.  Let’s be honest there is always more than enough food and leftovers for days so we could reduce the number of dishes slightly and not feel like we’re missing out.

Check with others about special dietary restrictions.

Do you have people who eat a very clean diet, eat a strict keto or gluten-free diet? Do you have anybody attending that is diabetic? Try to make dishes that accommodate these needs even if that means using an alternate flour, dairy product, or sugar substitute so that you don’t have to make multiple versions of a recipe.

Just do what you can.

If you need to do less or make something different that is fine.  Instead doing an entire turkey, just make a turkey breast or chicken dish.  If it’s too much to do all the dishes, just make your favorites.  If it’s too much to make multiple desserts just make one pie.  

Let the store help you.

Buy store-bought foods if it’s too much to do homemade.  If you are in the season of life where it is too much to try to make everything from scratch than let the store help you.    Even if you just buy rolls or pies from the store than that will help lighten your load. 

Use disposable plates and silverware.

Use paper or disposable plates if doing all those dishes is too overwhelming.  You can get heavy duty paper plates and that way you will reduce the number of dishes you have to wash. 

Keep the true meaning of Thanksgiving and the reason why everyone is gathering in your mind.  And do whatever you can to reduce your stress or lighten your load.  It’s not worth ruining your mood or your day because you are too stressed or overwhelmed.  Try to share the cooking role and take turns in the kitchen if you can.  Don’t feel like you have to be a one woman or one man show if others are willing to help.  Even the kids can help with some things like setting the table, pouring drinks, clearing the table or helping clean up. 

We’d love to hear what you think about these tips.  We’d also love to hear about ideas for how to reduce stress getting ready for Thanksgiving.  Let us know in the comments below.  Thank you for stopping by and visiting Sunup to Sundown!  We’ll be back soon with another recipe or update regarding our garden or our journey to becoming more self-reliant.  Please subscribe, like or share this post with others who could benefit from it.

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2 thoughts on “How to reduce stress at Thanksgiving

  • Crock pots are great, we use them a lot. I always leave a veggie tray out for anyone that isn’t a meat eater. Right now in our family there is a little divide going on with political stress so it isn’t as fun as past Thanksgivings, we stay out of that and try to get everyone to get along. Should have a sign up this year at all family events….No political topics allowed for one day.

    • That is a great idea to leave out a veggie tray for those that aren’t meat eaters. We’re sorry to hear about the divide in your family but we completely agree that it’s best to keep drama out of family gatherings. At least to the best of your ability, minimize topics that are controversial or that bring up a lot of debate and keep the conversation more lighthearted. We even find putting some music on in the background is an easy way to lighten the mood. Thanks again for your ideas!

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