Strategies To Survive Thanksgiving With Your Family And How To Make It Amazing!
Thanksgiving is coming up. it is a time to celebrate traditions, eat traditional food, spending time with family, and to be grateful for everything in your life. Giving thanks for all that you have in life and for the great things coming in the future. Why would anyone need advice on how to survive Thanksgiving with family?
For some, it is a time for the family to sit around the table, to enjoy happy memories, and share stories.
Others may approach this time of the year with a time of anxiety stress and dread.
Are you looking forward to spending time with your extended family or are you going to be walking on eggshells?
Whether your family is small or large, there are always dynamics to consider during the holidays. It is a time to enjoy good food and great company.
Most people are happy, and they have figured out the formula of a great get together.
Yet not all families have quite figured it out. Many times, Thanksgiving dinners have been ruined by drama.
The best predictor of future behavior is relevant past behavior right? Well what if you could control how it turns out?
'Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out.' - John WoodenClick To Tweet
You know your family dynamics. Your mom doesn’t like your sister’s husband, Dad will not say much while hugging his bottle of Whisky, Grandpa will fuss all night about his latest ailment, and your aunt will whisper her thoughts to you about your cousin’s new girlfriend.
The cousins you haven’t seen since last Thanksgiving are ready to stir the pot, and you can only pray the kids don’t end up gluing their hands to the wall….again.
Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. – Marcel Proust
So what can you do to ensure that no one ends up throwing turkey or wine at the dinner table?
Here’s how to survive Thanksgiving with your family.
Have Several Seats
I say that in a nice way. It is important to take charge of seating.
Separate those who do not get along well by seating them on different ends of the table.
When planning for Thanksgiving dinner, make beautiful place cards, this way when everyone goes to take their seat, they will sit where they have been assigned.
I know, it sounds like it is for kids, but hey, if it works why not?
You want to survive Thanksgiving with your family don’t you?
Guide The Conversation
Or get your partner to do it. LOL. A lot of families begin Thanksgiving dinner on a nice note, but as soon as dinner table conversation begins, and little wine is sipped, friendliness and manners have a tendency to go out of the window.
When you feel the tension coming on, steer the conversation in a different direction.
A great way to survive Thanksgiving with your family is to play a game while having dinner. For example, start a game of sharing your Thanksgiving memories and gratefulness.
Or place a jar with questions on the table, asking questions like “What would a perfect day look like for you?”.
Each person takes a card and answers the questions. This will divert their attention away from arguments.
'After a good dinner, one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.' - Oscar WildeClick To Tweet
Can’t Stand The Heat? Stay Out Of The Kitchen
If you love to cook, especially large dinners like you would on Thanksgiving, you might not want a lot of people in your kitchen. Or any on at all for that matter.
Moms will tell their daughters how to make the perfect turkey, your brother might think your mashed potatoes suck. You know what? It is one day out of the year. Open up your kitchen to anyone who is willing and ready to lend a helping hand. Give in.
Thanksgiving is about being together as a family. Be thankful that your sister or her husband can cook better than you. Even if you will never admit it. Have fun!
Avoid Politics and Religion
Just don’t do it. Everyone will have their opinions and views and will try to project these opinions and thoughts on everyone around the dinner table in a matter of 45 minutes.
Don’t let yourself get sucked in. As soon as you hear, Christians and Muslims, Trump, Merkel or Putin, please redirect the conversation.
Just Be Yourself
The best way to survive Thanksgiving with your family is to just be yourself. Sure, we all have that one family member who is passive aggressive. Oh well. Don’t adjust your life or your character in order to gain approval of others.
We all yearn to be loved and accepted by our family. Be open, let them know what is new in your life, share your goals and successes. Family tends to be more open when you yourself keep an open mind. If you are already anticipating drama and fighting, your energy will send that out into the universe and it is exactly what you will get.
Your family may not always understand you or really understand what you are about. It is up to you to explain it to them. Who knows, you might even look forward to next year.
'Forever on Thanksgiving Day, the heart will find the pathway home.' - Wilbur D. NesbitClick To Tweet
On another note, you might be thinking, “hey, we have the most fun Thanksgiving dinners ever!”
Then great, I guess you don’t need this advice then.
What I can suggest to those who are trying to figure out how to survive Thanksgiving with your family, and those who already have it down pat are these dinner table ideas.
I am no Martha Stewart, but here little things you can do to spruce up the dinner table.
- Use colourful textiles – not the usual white or ivory
- Try succulents and cut flowers
- Highlight a unique centerpiece with handwritten notes of gratitude
- Use autumn colors or go for an indigo, gold, and blue mix
- Try using some candle lamps or seasonal pumpkin candle-holders
Never Had Your Family Together At Your Home For Thanksgiving?
Here is your traditional Thanksgiving dinner menu list starring all of the classics: turkey, potatoes, cranberry sauce, and more. Go through the checklist of what you will make before heading to the grocery store.
- Roast Turkey
- Mashed Potatoes
- Sauteed Green Beans with Shallot Crisps
- Corn Bread
- Cranberry Relish
- Chardonnay-Glazed Carrots
- Pumpkin or Pecan Pie
Don’t forget the stuffing!!! Here is my favourite Chestnut and Procini Mushroom Stuffing.
The food alone should keep everyone happy. Click here for an instant download of the infographic.
While Thanksgiving reminds us to be grateful for all the blessings already in our lives, it’s much more than a dinner. Relax your expectations.
Your ideal holiday won’t materialize unless you make it happen. Remember what the day is about. It’s isn’t just turkey, football, and pies. Thanksgiving is truly about coming together as a family to give thanks.
Focus on your blessings, happiness, appreciation, and gratitude.
How are you spending Thanksgiving this year and where?
Have stories of how you survive Thanksgiving with your family?
Share them with me in the comments section below.