The fourth Thursday of November may sound like fun and games for some people but others shudder at the thought of spending the weekend back at home. The very thought of Thanksgiving dinner planning can send chills down the spines of even the toughest homemakers. It can be quite a challenge for even a happy and united family. But what if your family isn’t working well and everything about it is dysfunctional? As disciplined decent adults, we all have to put up with regular family etiquette like attending the odd dinner and participating in holiday outings.
Surviving Thanksgiving is pretty tough - even the healthiest families cannot predict their dynamics after hours of intense communication. Even those lucky enough to be born into a loving family may be googling thanksgiving survival tips this very moment. So keep calm, stay strong and follow and prepare to have a good time this holiday season.
PLAN OUT YOUR GUEST LIST
Rule number one of surviving thanksgiving is actually outnumbering the people you have bad vibes with: bring over a friend or acquaintance who can lighten up the mood. The same advice applies if you're the one hosting - people tend to be on their best behaviour when they face strangers.
You can take control of the situation and make this Thanksgiving feel better with just a little planning in advance.
MENTION ENDING TIME ON THE INVITATIONS
Make sure to mention a specific time limit for the party on your Thanksgiving invitations. Knowing for a fact that this Thanksgiving party will be over, say, at ten, will definitely boost your cordiality and make surviving Thanksgiving easier. When the party fizzles out just give the signal by saying "I'm so glad you all came" or something similar. Give your self an extra treat afterwards for your efforts.
MENU PLANNING IS KEY
Make your Thanksgiving menu inclusive - figure out all the yes and noes in tastes not giving anyone a chance to complain about the food. If you have a problem drinker in the family, let everyone know beforehand that it's going to be an alcohol-free party. The get-together will not be ruined by someone who cannot handle their drinking and your carefully organized event will go according to plan.
PREPARE EVERYTHING BEFOREHAND
Spare yourself from additional stress by making lists and keeping track of your inventory and party supplies. Even a simple grocery list can take off some of the stress and is a step towards successfully surviving your family at Thanksgiving. Brainstorm conversation topics, prepare ways to steer a tiresome conversation in a different direction and plan childcare schedule ahead of time - a little pre-event strategizing goes a long way.
ENTERTAIN THE KIDS
Adults behaving like kids is a challenge in itself, but when those adults bring real kids with them it can get even more stressful. Kids can get restless trapped at a table with adults - have activities planned and ready to catch their attention. Set up simple craft projects, print out turkey coloring sheets or themed activity sheets with pumpkin pies or pilgrims. Their exhausted parents might warm up to you if you manage to pacify their little monsters.
GET YOUR THANKSGIVING PLACE CARDS READY
An important step to surviving Thanksgiving is taking charge of seating and planning the seating arrangement beforehand. If you know there's a bad dynamic between certain family members, put them as far from each other as possible. It’s not new information that your sister doesn’t like your mom’s new boyfriend or your grandmother is going to want the extra attention - consider pairing up relatives that are least neutral or on good terms with each other.
Plan ahead, make an effort to be cordial and have a good time this Thanksgiving season.