Survive Thanksgiving

Holidays are a great way to bring your family together. Thanksgiving is one of such occasions.

Memories will be made for your children. We bring you some handy tips to help you plan your plan the family get-together and things you can do after Thanksgiving Dinner, besides taking a nap, to make the day perfect.

Surely you are used to family get-togethers at Thanksgiving. You have probably enjoyed your fair share and have a collection of family recipes. However, when it is your turn to organize Thanksgiving Dinner and you want everything to be perfect, a few tips on planning the reunion and some ideas activities to keep everyone entertained after dinner may come helpful. We hope these will help you to not only survive Thanksgiving, but take pleasure from the event as well.

Tips to heep the stress out of Thanksgiving dinner

Why do people always get stressed at the holidays? Is it the rush to get everything done? Is it wanting everything to be "perfect"? Is it having to deal with family members that know how to push our buttons? Most likely it is a little of each. So how do we have a stress free Thanksgiving dinner? Here are a few simple tips to have a more enjoyable Thanksgiving dinner.

Plan ahead - While planning the Thanksgiving meal, do you plan who is going to help? Instead of doing it all yourself, recruit your family to help. Not only will the work go faster, it's more fun working together. Make a list of what needs done before everyone arrives. Give everyone something to do and assign things that are age appropriate to the children. Before you know it, the leftovers will be wrapped in foil and everyone will have had a great time.

Covered dish meal - If you are having a large group get together for Thanksgiving, divide the menu amongst all those attending. The host family can provide the main dish (turkey or ham) and the drinks. Each family brings a favorite side dish and dessert. If you want to make sure there is a variety, provide a menu and mark things off as people chose what they want to fix.

Simplify - Instead of having a huge feast, prepare a smaller meal. We all tend to overeat at Thanksgiving, so make an effort to make fewer dishes. Not only will the preparation be smaller, so will our waistlines. Another option is to prepare as much ahead of time as you can. Slow cookers can be used to make all kinds of foods, even desserts. Many things can also be made as "freezer meals" and stored for weeks before re-heating them. The less actual cooking you need to do on Thanksgiving, the lower your stress levels will be.

Family harmony - While you can't make everyone happy, there are ways to promote a peaceful, relaxing dinner. Use place cards to put the people who tend to bicker further away from each other during dinner. This will help alleviate some of the tensions.

Be thankful - Counting all your blessings can reduce your stress level. Before everyone arrives, take the time to list all that you're thankful for over the last year. Have everyone share their blessings before dinner. Having a better attitude will help everyone enjoy the day more.

Stress doesn't have to ruin the holidays. If you stop to smell the turkey, and plan ahead, you can have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Planning and organization, while not great fun, can help you enjoy things later once all the guests arrive.

Planning the family get-together

Start planning your family get together now with these tips.

Plan your meal - Don't wait until the week before Thanksgiving to decide what your Thanksgiving dinner will include. Start planning today.

What kind of meats will you prepare? Will everyone eat the same meat, or should you cook a couple of different kinds of meat? What sides and desserts will you fix? Planning a family dinner can be taxing if you're not careful. Be sure to plan for everyone so that nobody will go without something they love to eat.

Share the cooking - Don't try to cook the entire dinner by yourself. Ask different family members to bring something with them. Good cooks love to share their food and recipes. They'll love cooking and bringing their favorite dishes for the family meal.

Decide on a time - Don't send an open invitation with no starting time, unless you are prepared to have guests arrive at all hours of the day. When planning your Thanksgiving meal, be sure to include what time guests should begin arriving. Family will most likely want to come early and stay late to catch up on all the latest, so make sure you stress the right time on the invitations.

Make it special - Every family get-together is special in its own way. Make this Thanksgiving extra special by doing something different. Perhaps you might take turns going around the dinner table and sharing what each family member is thankful for. Or maybe you could invite your pastor and his family for dinner and have him pray a special prayer for your family. Doing something different this Thanksgiving dinner is a sure way to create warm, lasting memories that your entire family will never forget.

After Dinner

Every year, families all across the country have their Thanksgiving traditions, one of which is taking a nap after a huge meal. So, instead of doing nothing all afternoon, Here are a few actives to keep your bodies moving and burn off some of those extra calories.

Take a walk - while it may seem simple, just the act of taking a walk will wake you up after the feast, as well as being very healthy for you. Go enjoy the fall leaves, see who can collect the prettiest ones along the way.

Touch football - instead of watching the bowl games, organize your own backyard bowl game. Call it the Potatoes and Gravy Bowl if you want.

Volunteer - take some time out of your Thanksgiving to give back to those who don't have as much. There is probably a shelter or soup kitchen that is looking for people to help serve meals to the homeless. Consider making it a regular family activity, even year round.

Put on a play - have the children reenact the first Thanksgiving. A few simple costumes made out of paper bags, and they can put on a delightful show for the family. Don't leave the grownups out of the action; have them improvise some scenes with the children as well.

Winter sports - if it's cold enough to have recently snowed, have a sled riding party. If you don't have a large enough hill, try a nearby park instead. Have a snowball fight or build a snowman. Ice-skating is another fun activity, and there may even be an indoor rink (but they might not be open due to the holiday, so it's a good idea to call first.)

Turkey Hunt - take a stuffed turkey, or paper turkey, and hide it in the house or yard, weather permitting. The first person to find the turkey gets to hide it the next time. Keep playing till everyone's had a turn to hide the turkey.

Turkey Bowling - make turkey bowling pins out of two-liter bottles. Fill them with a little sand to weight them down and spray paint them brown. Let the kids decorate them with paint or feathers. Set them up and then try to roll a turkey (three strikes in a row). If you have a lot of people, you can make more than one set to keep the action going.

It's easy to just curl up and let the turkey take over after a large meal, but it is a good idea to get up and get moving and make memories that last a lifetime. The fact that it also happens to be good for you is an added bonus.