5 Tips for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

Traveling home for turkey day? At its very best, Thanksgiving dinner is a celebration of the love of family and friends, and a joyful reflection on the many reasons we have to be grateful. At its worst, it can be a fall cornucopia of tension and stress. It’s all too easy to slide into a holiday slump, but a positive attitude and some helpful tips can ensure your Thanksgiving will be one to remember.

1. Keep Gratitude at the forefront

Turkey is great, but people are better. Put your family before food by keeping the spirit of Thanksgiving in mind above everything else. It might be easy to feel stressed out with so many people around, but focusing on your many blessings and gifts will help you keep an attitude of gratitude throughout the day. Begin dinner with a prayer, and encourage each member of your family to share what he or she is most grateful for this year.

2. Channel your chill

Everyone’s families have quirks. Is well-meaning Aunt Sally asking yet again why you’re not married? Grandpa Joe letting everyone else know why their specific political views will destroy the world? Today is the day to take a deep breath and let it slide. If you find yourself feeling resentful, pause and say a prayer instead. And If you’re looking for a tension-free conversation starter, turn on the Thanksgiving Day parade. It’s hard not to share some lighthearted, creative commentary when a float of singing and dancing M&Ms on ice skates rolls through New York City’s Herald Square.

3. Help Out

Hosting Thanksgiving dinner is a huge undertaking, so take a break from watching the game from your own personalized couch indent to offer a helping hand to those in the kitchen. Even small gestures like folding napkins or pouring the wine are highly appreciated. And don’t forget about cleanup assistance!

4. Laugh it up

Laughter is one of the biggest stress reliefs, and games are a great way to bring out everyone’s silly side. Taboo and Apples to Apples are some of my favorites, but I also love to leave the board game behind and get creative with games like Celebrity and Turkey Talk.

5. Savor

This goes for the food and the moments. Eat slowly, enjoy the flavors and variety of the food on your plate, and actively suppress the impulse to scarf down all of the deliciousness in front of you within minutes. Savor the time you have with family, too. Hold lingering conversations with those who you don’t see often. Recognize the moments during the day that make you the most grateful. Thanksgiving happens but once a year!