10 Tips for a more relaxing Thanksgiving Day

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, many of us have started planning the menu, writing out the grocery list and even detailing preparations for the big day. The menus may vary from home to home, but each family seems to have some sort of tradition as to how the day unfolds and what will be served. In the end, the feast is typically bountiful, gratitudes are expressed and memories are made. Every year, we seem to pick up another way to streamline the “work” that goes into the day so that we can focus on the “together” that happens.

10 tips for thanksgiving day

 It’s not like any of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes are very complicated, it’s the sheer quantity that make it such an ordeal. When the kids were little, we assigned each of them an easy dish that Steve and I helped prepare. We each took 2 of them and figured out how to coordinate mixing, and cooking times. It sounds like some sort of child labor abuse, but they actually enjoyed it. They always made sure we knew which dish they had prepared when we sat down, as if we had mysteriously forgotten, and waited somewhat patiently for us to comment on how wonderful it was.

Now they choose which dish they want to make and we coordinate it all so everything is ready on time. A few years ago I wrote it all out on my iPad, including my shopping list and the schedule for when to prep and put each dish in the oven. The next year it dawned on me that I could just use the previous year’s list and tweak it as needed based on how many we were hosting and menu changes. Apparently, I was too tired to realize that the first year.


10 Tips for a more relaxing Thanksgiving Day

1. Smoking your turkey saves room in the oven, and they taste amazing too.

2. Mixing and freezing dishes ahead leaves more time and energy to enjoy the company. Some of our favorites to prep are dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole and butternut squash pie ingredients.

3. Using a crock pot and roaster oven frees up space in the oven.

4. Accepting the offer of local guests to bring their favorite Thanksgiving dish ensures that even if it isn’t their usual menu, they have at least one familiar dish to enjoy.

5. Making a list of which days to complete specific tasks, like cooking potatoes or chopping onions and celery, reduces exhaustion when the big day arrives.

6. Picking up some festive paper goods is actually okay for some occasions. If you’re hosting a large gathering, consider this to be one of them.

7. Searching the Internet provides great inspiration for recipes and decorations, but don’t make it the standard for measuring a successful Thanksgiving. It’s an idea list, not a task master.

Light filtered thru fall leaves

… and a few bonus ideas…

8. Allotting a specific amount of time, maybe 1 hour or 9 pm or whatever works for you, to work through the to-do list and then calling it done can be very freeing. It helps us prioritize, de-stress and have energy left to enjoy the true purpose of the day.

9. Spending 30 minutes to an hour de-stressing – reading, soaking in the tub – after #8 is a great way to slow down and savor the moments ahead.

10. Breathe. Be present. Savor every moment in your mind and enjoy!


So what tips and secrets do you have for de-stressing these days of celebration?

This post was updated from one originally published in November of 2015

About Beth Moore

A Christ-follower, wife, mom to 4, lifestyle blogger, seamstress and seeker of daily glimpses of God's grace and redemption.

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