Simplifying Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is traditionally a time when we gather with friends and family to give thanks and kick off the beginning of the holiday season. Putting together a Thanksgiving spread can be overwhelming under the best of circumstances, but almost impossible when you are in pain. Here are some ideas to keep the spirit of the holiday without running yourself into the ground.

You’re Hosting:
  • Thanksgiving is about relationships and family,; the food doesn’t have to be perfect and everything doesn’t have to be made from scratch. Balance out the meal by combining ready-to-eat foods from the grocery store and home cooked items. Keep it simple and rely on the simple family favorites that everyone enjoys. If you leave out a dish or two, no one will notice.
  • Use a list when shopping rather than relying on your memory. Sit down with the menu and recipes and make a detailed list of all ingredients, prepared items, and supplies you will need. Consider using a grocery delivery service. These are available in more and more areas for a low cost.
  • Consider downsizing to a more manageable whole chicken or a turkey breast—they are easier to prepare and a lot lighter to lift into and out of the oven.
  • Change up the menu to something non-traditional and easier to serve—lasagna, salad and garlic bread is an example. Just 3 foods to serve.
  • Use a slow cooker (or several) for mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, even desserts or hot spiced cider.
  • Prep foods ahead of time to lighten the load on Thanksgiving day and even out your workload.
  • Ask your guests to bring a dish to share and ask for help preparing and cleaning up.
You’re a Guest:
  • If you’re not up to cooking, ask to bring something that can be purchased at the store.
  • If you tire easily, limit your time.
Consider Breaking Tradition:
  • Take a vacation—with two days off of work and the weekend, it may just be a good time for a getaway.
  • Enjoy a restaurant meal—everyone gets what they want to eat and there is no prep or clean-up.
  • Hand off the hosting duty to someone else this year if you don’t feel up to it.