Turkey day is on it’s way and though the holidays are a time of celebrating family and friends, sometimes it can be a time of stress and utter frustration. The trick here is to acknowledge what it is that causes your stress and address it before it becomes a problem. Here’s a few tips to point you in the right direction:
1. You are allowed to say “No”. – Not every request has to be granted. You don’t have to visit every family member’s dinner every year. You don’t need to make the requested ham and turkey or two different kinds of stuffing. Realize that if you become the “yes man” everything you do will end up being sub-par because you’ve stretched yourself to thin. Decide what’s a priority and what you can legitimately handle, then stick to it. “No” is not a dirty word and you should not feel guilty about using it when necessary.
2. Delegate. – My family did a pot-luck Thanksgiving for years and it worked out great. Whoever’s hosting makes the turkey and a couple other easy things. Everyone else gets assigned the fixin’s. Less stress for the hostess (since getting my house clean and ready for company is usually stress enough) and everyone gets to share their signature dish. Win-win situation.
3. Prep in advance. – Do not wait until the week of to go grocery shopping! The crowds alone will immediately make you want to kick yourself. Let alone the inevitability that the store will always be out of some critical ingredient you need by then. Plan your menu and shop 2-3 weeks early. Also, if you can find any make-ahead recipes (I make my mashed potatoes in advance and freeze them) they are a huge time and stress saver.
4. Accept that you can’t make everyone happy all the time. – Families are diverse…and to some degree every one is dysfunctional in their own special way. That being said, they will not all be happy all the time and that’s ok. Grandma will hate the gravy, your sister will pick a petty fight, your uncle will hate your stuffing or your husband will buy the wrong wine. Regardless, you’ve done your best, you’ve spent quality time with the people you love, and you’re thankful for another year with those closest to you. That, my dears, equals a successful Thanksgiving…no matter how the turkey turns out 🙂
5. Schedule a massage for right after everyone’s gone. Have it already booked. I know this sounds like a shameless plug, but hear me out. If you went through the entire week of Thanksgiving KNOWING there was a massage waiting for you at the end…wouldn’t things stress you out a little less knowing you had a prize waiting for you afterwards? It’s like a kid who braves the doctor knowing they’ll get a sucker and a sticker afterward! And don’t you think after coordinating the family feast you earned a little relaxing “me time”? I think yes!
And a little extra bit of advice: Don’t get so caught up in the stress of the holiday season that you forget the whole point. This is the time of year when we make a little extra effort to show our love and appreciation for friends and family. It’s not about gifts and food and marketing…it’s about celebrating what we already have and being thankful for it all.