How to Actually Enjoy Thanksgiving: Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday

Don’t sweat the small stuff, be prepared for this fun holiday
A Stress-Free Holiday

Don’t worry, Thanksgiving will go perfectly with these foolproof stress management tips.


Thanksgiving is practically here and the to-do list feels like it stretches from here to infinity. The mere thought of everything that “needs” to be done before the in-laws arrive, the table is set, and those first tasty forkfuls are devoured, is daunting (to put it mildly).

Click here for our Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday (Slideshow)

Planning is not everyone’s forte, but for Thanksgiving festivities, it is the key to success. First step: plan the menu. Creating and solidifying your Thanksgiving menu beforehand reduces stress and the potential for strife on the big day. With the menu in hand, a game plan can be formulated and the rest can fall into place.

But getting the Thanksgiving dinner ready isn’t the only thing to be done to prepare for the day. Making a plan will help to ensure that all the little things, like cleaning and decorating, will be done before show time. Verifying that there are enough table settings and chairs early will also help to avoid chaos later.

Thanksgiving is not just about stuffing your face (although food is an integral part of the magic of Thanksgiving). Thanksgiving is a family holiday; it’s a time to be grateful, not get stressed out over the not-quite- perfect latticework on the apple pie or the salt missing from the mashed potatoes. Let us help you with some more tips to make this year’s Thanksgiving stress-free.


Of course you want to try to do everything and please everyone, but Thanksgiving should also be enjoyed. Try something a little different this year and delegate. It’s hard to relinquish some control, but it will make Thanksgiving a much less stressful experience. Maybe make the holiday meal a potluck party. But if you really must make everything, assign tasks: ask the kids to set the table, let Uncle Mike carve the bird, and have Cousin Jane pour the cocktails.

Work Ahead


People say to make dishes ahead of time or prep a few days before, but sometimes that’s easier said than done. This Thanksgiving, actually listen to that advice to make Turkey Day easy as pie. Make that jalapeño cornbread stuffing and that brandied cranberry sauce and your other holiday favorites in advance. Even those beautiful baked goods might be that much tastier the next day.