Thanksgiving is a lot. Somehow we took a holiday that was meant to commemorate the gratitude in our hearts into something that takes days of preparation. I have found a balance in a simple Thanksgiving — maybe you’ll find some tips in how it works for us now.
Creating a Simple Thanksgiving to enjoy the day or when you’re far from home can be a welcome relief
Thanksgiving is a lot.
Since we moved away from family, I think it’s been my hardest holiday. I miss my family, I miss having traditions and cousins.
Of course, there is also the perks of not having family nearby… but I digress.
BUT, I do miss them.
AND, Thanksgiving really isn’t a meal you want to make yourself. There are SO many dishes and sides and dessert.
The overwhelming nature of the day doesn’t do us any favors.
I often found that the overwhelm of cooking all the dishes, PLUS missing my family really bummed me out. And I found that I really didn’t want my kids to remember a bunch of Thanksgivings where mom was just morose and sad.
So, here are my tips to an easier — more simple Thanksgiving.
These are especially true if you’re doing Thanksgiving on your own. But, they can be used in any situation.
- Combine forces
- Cook food you like
- Pare it down
- Use your resources
- Other activities that aren’t food.
As always, let’s go a bit more in detail for those 5
We have often had our most favorite and stress-free Thanksgivings when we combine forces with another family. Look around for families that don’t have family in the area. Sometimes we’ve invited younger couples (or, we were the younger couple that someone else invited). Or, ask people at work. Sometimes families are sticky and people are hoping to spend it with someone else.
Cook food you like
I hate stuffing. A lot. Not like a little, I hate it A LOT. But, somehow I feel compelled to make it. I also hate mashed potatoes, and frankly — I’m not a huge fan of turkey. I often cook it poorly and it makes me nervous.
So, I cook what we like. I have done turkey, but lately, it’s been ham, and sweet potatoes, rolls. Stuff we all like. Stuff I’m good at.
Use your resources
If you don’t have a recipe that exceeds what you would buy at the store — just use them. I usually can’t make an apple pie better than Marie Calendars, so I get hers. I do feel a mild amount of guilt for not making it. But, that is because I am an idiot — LET IT GO.
Also, using other items in your house like your crock pot or instant pot can make dinner preparation a lot easier!
Spread it out
Maybe do Pie on Friday! No reason to put it all on one day.
Or, eat some of your favorite dishes the week before or the week after. No reason to have to have that whole meal in one night! Plus, that spreads out the joy (and the calories)
Other activities that aren’t food
We love to watch the Macy’s Day parade, and we have a traditional game of “Life” on Thanksgiving.
I’m not sure how it happened… but it did. 🙂 And, by having a few other things that we do on Thanksgiving has taken a lot of the pressure out of the day.
Also, silly traditions like that can often take away the sting.
The Thanksgiving I remember (and I’m not saying they were all this way, because I know they weren’t) were a large table with aunts and uncles. Time with little cousins and then fighting over how we were going to handle Christmas.
Our Thanksgivings aren’t like that.
They never will be, but we can make them our own kind of fun — they’re drama-free and a good time is had by all!
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