Give Thanks!

With calendars now reading November, there is no denying that the holidays are once again upon us.

If the thought of hosting this year’s big feast has you feeling more stressful than thankful, remember that Thanksgiving is a joyous time of the year to reconnect with family and friends. And just because you are playing hostess, doesn’t mean you won’t be able to bask in the holiday glow. With the true spirit of Thanksgiving in mind, take a moment to consider these suggestions as you plan for the upcoming festivities.

Sarah on ‘Ask For Help’

‘When it is your family’s turn to host the Thanksgiving meal, remember that it is indeed your whole family hosting the event, not just you! So don’t burden yourself with the weight of all the holiday responsibilities. Instead, enlist all household members to help plan the event. My husband, Gardiner, is a great lover of food, so every time we find ourselves hosting the holiday meal, I make sure that he is in charge of menu planning. As for my nieces and nephews, allowing them to set the table not only is a huge help for me, but it leaves them with a great feeling of importance as they help to put the finishing touches on the big meal.’

Alicia on ‘Imperfect Perfection’

‘No matter what the endless commercials and storefronts may portray, your holiday dinner does not need to be picture perfect: so let yourself off the hook! Instead of striving to have our dining room table rival those of a Pottery Barn catalog, I keep the decorations simple and actually let my 5-year-old daughter handle part of the place settings. By cutting two-inch wide strips of heavy paper for Lucy to color, she is able to create beautiful napkin holders. Not only are we extremely proud of her unique decorations, but they make for great conversation at the dinner table.’

Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you host this year’s Thanksgiving dinner:

#1: Prep Work
A great way to reduce the amount of prep work it takes to pull off a memorable Thanksgiving is to have your family members involved right from the get go. Once you plan the dinner menu, have each member of your family responsible for a specific part of the evening whether it be one of the courses, such as dessert or a component of the decorations, such as flowers or candles. With your whole family on the job, you will be able to accomplish double the work in half the time.

#2: Open Invite
Hosting a family dinner doesn’t mean you should wait on others hand and foot. So don’t consider it a faux pas to ask for help during the event. Instead of trying to serve the meal all on your own, invite a few loved ones back into the kitchen. Chances are they will feel honored and happy to help. And while they are back there, don’t forget to treat this time as another opportunity to connect with these special friends or relatives.

#3: Ditch the Black Friday Blues
After you have successfully hosted the Thanksgiving meal, give yourself a break! Instead of another frazzled day, this time braving the crowds at the mall instead of the crowds in your dining room, make a commitment to have a shop-free day. If you do feel compelled to shop, do so from your living room with your family, and hunt for bargains online. After all, spending the day at home is the perfect excuse to stay in your comfy PJs and take care of more important issues — like those leftovers!