Na-ma-stay grateful and stress-free during the holidays, especially in the unprecedented year of 2020. With planning and prepping a safe Thanksgiving at the forefront of our minds, take comfort in these tips for a stress-free Thanksgiving.
The Stress of Hosting Thanksgiving in 2020
Why is Thanksgiving so stressful? Thanksgiving is the holiday where family, friends, and sometimes strangers gather to give gratitude. If you are struggling to cope with the thought of distant holidays, video calls to say “I love you” or a few empty seats at the dinner table because loved ones are still in quarantine, you are not alone.
The year 2020 has been unprecedented, to say the least. Although the holidays may look different this year, that doesn’t mean they have to be canceled, and gratitude should never stop. You may not be having a big family gathering this year. It may just be a quaint dinner in the solitude of your home. However, for those planning to host Thanksgiving per usual, just know everything is best served with a side of comfort and without all the extra stress.
Take comfort in these tips that we have gathered for how to make Thanksgiving less stressful. We all deserve a stress-free Thanksgiving after all.
Sanitize and Rejuvenate
Some say cleanliness is next to godliness. Others may say to stay six feet away regardless of the number of times you have sanitized. Regardless if you are planning on having one guest or ten this Thanksgiving, you have to be sure to clean and disinfect to avoid extra worry this Thanksgiving- before and after the holiday festivities.
Give yourself time. This is important in more ways than one. Take breaks. Take time to think and breathe a little extra. This year has been a lot to take in. There has been plenty of worry in the long days leading up to this moment.
Step away when you can, to get a coffee. Go for a walk. Sit on the couch to catch up on your favorite show, or simply, call a loved one for an overdue chat. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Be sure to rejuvenate during the holidays and don’t feel guilty about it.
The holidays should never be stressful, plan ahead to avoid stress as much as you can.
Part of what makes any holiday stressful is the overwhelming pressure that comes with executing the dinner or celebration. This is especially applicable to Thanksgiving as the anticipation of the holiday is almost entirely focused on the quality of the food. You don’t want to disappoint.
There is the KEY to a stress-free Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving hosts pay close attention. Planning to host a stress-free Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t start the day of or the night before the holiday. Start planning out Thanksgiving dinner at least two weeks in advance in order to keep stress on the down-low.
That does not mean you start cooking in advance. That two-week mark should be the target for narrowing down the number of guests, your grocery list, and a narrowed down schedule for how you will manage your time until the big day.
You can, however, start purchasing and planning out your cookware and tableware when it comes to stress-free Thanksgiving planning. The necessary quantity of each will be determined by how long your guest list is. Determine what it is that you have and purchase or borrow additional containers and cutlery where needed.
For a truly stress-free option, consider going disposable. The last thing you will feel like doing after cooking the Thanksgiving dinner is washing the dishes after everyone eats. Disposable dishware is also easy to purchase in advance and store with no issue. They can even be bought online and shipped to wherever you are hosting the dinner for an even more stress-free option.
Divide and Conquer.
Don’t take on everything by yourself. Anything you can delegate should be delegated. Much of what makes Thanksgiving stressful is the overwhelming feeling of tackling the dinner and the day on your own. There is no shame in dividing and conquering your Thanksgiving checklist to prevent stress.
There are certain aspects of Thanksgiving dinner that are best served hot. However, there is no shame in the premade game for Thanksgiving dishes. Everything except the turkey can be made the day before for an easier and less stressful holiday.
There is no unspoken rule that says the host must take on all the responsibilities. Thanksgiving potlucks have become popular, especially with Friendsgiving on the rise. If you are a chef who prefers to have the final say on the dishes, delegate some of the smaller items like ice, drinks, or even canned cranberry sauce (a Thanksgiving staple).
If you have a creative friend looking to help, consider making them responsible for setup, décor, and table settings. This is a fun yet time-consuming part of hosting during the holidays. Having this component delegated will help you drastically, and you won’t be causing them any extra stress, as this task will be fun and will help them to feel involved.
Take the Route Less Stressful
There is no shame in taking it easy during the holiday.
Frankly, it should be a priority. One key component to avoid fretting over when cooking for Thanksgiving is appetizers. Your guests are coming for the main dishes –the turkey, dressing/stuffing, sweet potato casserole, the works... If you are worried that dinner will not be complete by the time guests arrive, put out a vegetable tray, chips and dip, and some other simple finger foods for a stress-free Thanksgiving menu. In addition, have someone ready to give drinks to keep the conversation alive.
If you don’t have it in you to host Thanksgiving dinner this year, don’t do it. There is no magical answer as to how to get out of hosting Thanksgiving dinner.
Let someone else take on the responsibilities of hosting this year, so you can enjoy the holiday in a less stressful manner. If you are afraid of losing the ability to host, just know it doesn’t have to be permanent. You won’t have your (hosting) chair taken away from the table forever. This year, more than ever, it is crucial to take some time to rest in whatever manner seems right for you. Enjoy and appreciate the fun of hosting next year.
Take Time to Decompress.
The end of the year is normally busy for everyone. You leave one holiday and quickly enter the next. Retail stores start putting up Christmas décor months ahead. It can all start feeling a little overwhelming at times.
This is just another reason why taking time to decompress post-Thanksgiving is needed to avoid the extra stress- especially this year. Take a breather. You have time. Once Thanksgiving is over, don’t jump right into Christmas and New Year’s prep. Give yourself a couple of days. You will be happy you did.
Our florists at Flowerama Ames serving areas around Cedar Rapids, IA are here to connect family, homes, and gratitude this Thanksgiving and beyond. Send a flower arrangement to the loved one you can’t be with due to health restrictions. Send a floral centerpiece to the gracious host who will be inviting you in for holiday dinner or treat yourself and your home to something beautiful to brighten the mood, lift spirits, and reduce stress.
May your family be gracious. May your stomachs be full, and may your Thanksgiving be filled with beauty and love. Happy holidays to all!