Hosting Thanksgiving? Tips to reduce stress

Okay, this is kind of US-centric, but The Onion posted some funny tips to make hosting a family Thanksgiving less stressful, including:

  • Put the adults at the kids’ table, and keep the kids in the car.
  • To keep your mother happy, seat her directly across from her one good child who actually did something with his life.
  • Never host Thanksgiving

Some other options:

  • Tell everyone you’re Canadian and already celebrated.
  • Invite friends who you know well, but your parents don’t.  This may put your parents into “company manners” mode.
  • Leave.  “Love to come, Mom, but we lucked into a great deal in [remote location]”.   For example, Loscon.
  • Watch Home for the Holidays.

What are your Thanksgiving/family holiday rituals?   Do you have other silly or practical coping mechanisms to share?

10 thoughts on “Hosting Thanksgiving? Tips to reduce stress

  1. Oh, I love this.

    How about watching Jerry Springer or daytime court shows beforehand to make your family look 100% normal and happy by comparison?

    How about scrapping the whole “big elaborate meal” routine and order out? If there had been a Papa John’s or Dominos in delivery range, the Pilgrims totally would’ve called out for pizza. (Old World Pizza Delivery–There in Six Months or Less or It’s Free*)

    *Void in case of shipwreck, pirates, hurricane, or seamonsters.

  2. We stopped family things ages ago, too much stress. I’d be depressed for a week after. Not worth it! Now we make a bunch of food or have potluck with friends at our place. Get drunk and laugh our asses off. THAT is a holiday!

  3. My adult married daughter has hosted Thanksgiving for the past two years. The first year, her mother in law was the downer because, well, that’s just what she does. :) This year, it’s just us—Mom in law is in Hawaii now, but I’m sure she’ll call and commiserate about not being with family for the holidays. My son in law does the whole turkey all by himself and has for many Thanksgivings in his house. It’s nice to go somewhere and just help out, as opposed to prepping and doing all the work. Coping comes in the form of lots of alcohol…..I get giddy and silly when I drink, so it makes for good times (though I rarely drink for most of the rest of the year)! Board games round out the evening, as well as strategic planning for Black Friday shopping. Since my husband and younger daughter miss having leftover turkey and fixings to munch on, I always have to make a basic and smaller Turkey day feast at some time during the weekend, so I don’t get out of all the cooking. Now I’m getting excited about it!

    So what are YOUR plans for Thanksgiving??? Hope it’s a fun one!

  4. I am from an abusive family & have a lot of issues with holidays, a lot of seasonal blues until at least January, so I cope as best I can. It bothers me a lot, I admit, to see people talking gaily about using alcohol to cope with holiday stresses…my parents were alcoholics, I married an episodic abusive drinker, & it just seems as if alcohol makes a stressful situation just that much worse. Does everyone forget that alcohol is a depressant & that use of alcohol hurts a lot of people?

    This year, my son is staying home with me because he really dislikes his in-laws, while his wife takes the kids to her sister’s house. Shaun & I will cook a quiet dinner for the two of us. Finances are tight, so I will buy only a few small things for the kids, have no Christmas tree at my house, & probably have Christmas dinner at my son’s house, grit my teeth & get through it as well as possible. I will exercise as much as I can, try to get enough rest, read books I love, eat the foods I love without guilt, & administer tea & chocolate to help me relax. And I will try not to have too many meltdowns, or at least confine them to a few minutes when I am alone.

    I wish everyone well getting through the next 6 or 7 weeks & send a little extra positive energy to those who are alone & for whom this time of year is a nightmare.

  5. I’m coping by only making a few things and making everyone else bring side dishes/desserts. :D Oh, and my house won’t be immaculate and I don’t care! That’s one tradition I don’t want to pick up from my childhood (insane, stressed-out, feverish cleaning before a party)

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