Tips for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving Gathering

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Tips for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving GatheringThe holidays are great for gathering the family but they can also be stressful if you plan on hosting that family for Thanksgiving. Here are some tips for a stress-free Thanksgiving gathering. 

  1. Don’t stress – Easier said than done right? If you have too much going on in life (like school, work, home remodels) than don’t offer to host. There is no harm in telling people no; they will understand I promise. (And if they don’t tell them they are being a jerk) 
  2. Menu Planning – Plan out dishes ahead of time. You can plan on cooking or baking time as well. Some dishes you may be able to make a day before. I’m also a firm believer in having family and friends bring dishes. It helps to lighten the load on you. No matter if I’m hosting or someone else is hosting, I bring a dish to help the hostess out. It doesn’t have to be Martha Stewart level fancy, they can bring a pan of store-bought rolls! My sister is famous for her easy mac and cheese. We joke about it every year. 
  3. Be prepared – It’s ok not to have everything ready when people arrive. People are more comfortable if they can help you in the kitchen when they arrive. They feel useful. It’s a good idea to have an appetizer and drinks out and ready for guests also. Some of your guests will gravitate to the food and stay out of the way in the kitchen. My family likes to start with cocktails. Break out a recipe book to find some new and festive drink ideas like Clean Cocktails. The book offers low-calorie cocktails that use clean sweeteners like honey and maple syrup. I love that it has pitcher-sized variations that are perfect for a group gathering like Thanksgiving. You can make a pitcher and set it out for everyone to enjoy before dinner. Another great option for easy drink recipes is Sipp Sparkling Organic Drink. There are 6 flavors that you can mix with alcohol or enjoy straight out of the can. They are a flavorful sparkling beverage that makes your life easier while entertaining. 
  4. Occupy the kids – Thanksgiving is kind of like a road trip with kids except you hear “Is dinner ready yet?” Having some things ready for kids to enjoy so they aren’t under your feet. We made Turkey Treat Bags and TeePee Treat Boxes one year. Even some simple coloring or activity pages would be great. 
  5. Stunning Desserts – Pie is great but you can really wow them with a centerpiece that truly stands out. Edible Arrangments are one of my favorite desserts to include for entertaining (and new mom gifts). We got the Salted Caramel Harvest Bouquet™ with Orange Swizzle Berries, and it came in a pumpkin vase to fit the Thanksgiving decor. It has salted caramel apple wedges, a giant chocolate covered pineapple in the shape of an apple, and the berries are decorated in an orange Swizzle® on them. It’s a festive arrangement that everyone will enjoy eating. 
    Save on your Edible Arrangements with these promo codes
    THANK17 – $10 OFF $39+ ($49 for CA) valid 11/13 – 11/22, unlimited use, for fulfillment any time.
    FEAST – $20 OFF $99+, valid 11/13-11/22, unlimited use, fulfillment anytime
  6. Don’t forget the pets – We have a mess of dogs at our house. They are so loving sometimes that they can be a handful. We have to make sure they aren’t jumping on anyone, begging for food, or barking at guests so we place them outside or in bedrooms so they and the guests aren’t stressed about the dogs. We also have family members that have pet allergies that have to be noted as well. It’s best to find out ahead of time so you can put the pets up and do some extra pet hair cleaning. Of course, my dogs get lonely for that long so I send my kids upstairs to give them some love and treats. We got some Solid Gold chewy turkey, sweet potato, and cinnamon treats because they are Thanksgiving themed! They are grain-free, natural dog treats that I feel comfortable giving my dogs. Speaking of adorable pets. The holidays are a time when many families decide to get a pet. You can help local shelters find homes for these pets with a Petlanthropy gift card. You can even select the local shelter that you want to donate to as well. A lot of local shelters get donations and are able to waive adoption fees so that families can adopt a furry friend easier. 

These are my tips for a stress-free Thanksgiving gathering. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season! 


Meghan Cooper
Meghan Cooper
Meghan Cooper is a writer, content creator, movie critic, and geek living in Atlanta, Ga. She loves movies, traveling, and lots of coffee. Member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association, Georgia Film Critics Association, and Atlanta Film Critics Circle.


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