Thanksgiving Survival Guide

Shop Early. Don’t get caught shopping on Thanksgiving day. The earlier you shop, the better, so that you can avoid stress and long lines. Make a list so you can check off what you have and reduce the likelihood that you’ll need to make an emergency trip on Thursday.

Avoid Traffic. If you’re one of the 50 million Americans expected to travel this Thanksgiving, be sure you hit the road at the right time. Use a travel app like Waze to keep an eye on traffic and plan accordingly.

Team Effort. No one person should shoulder the burden of preparing everything for Thanksgiving. Divide up the cooking, cleaning, and table setting duties so that everyone has a hand in helping and that everyone can take more pride in the meal they helped create.

Stick to the Classics. Thanksgiving Day is not the day to experiment with that questionable recipe you found on Pinterest last week. Stick to what you know how to do to avoid last minute cooking disasters.

Know Everyone’s Needs. Do you have a cousin with Celiac Disease? An aunt who is a vegetarian? Keep that in mind when planning your Thanksgiving menu. If you’re doing a potluck style meal, encourage your guests with special dietary needs to bring a dish that caters to their requirements. This is also a great way to get everyone to expand their horizons and try something new. It is also important to be aware of any food allergies your guests might have.

Clean As You Go. Rather than leaving all the cleaning up for after dinner, try to clean as you go so there’s less of a mess. Load the dishwasher while your casserole is in the oven, and wipe down the counters and sweep. This can be a good job for the young ones to help out with.

Keep the Peace. Holiday get togethers should be a time of restoration and kinship, but they can easily devolve into a family feud if you don’t tread lightly. Avoid all talk of politics, current events, religion, or any other topics that can cause strife at the dinner table. If you see the conversation headed south, find a way to change the subject. What are better topics to talk about? A recent promotion at work, good grades, accomplishments, positive world news, etc.

Remember Why You’re Doing This. It’s not about the food, it’s about family and friends. So don’t stress about the little things, and remember that spending time with one another is what matters most. Make sure to be present and in the moment (that means putting your phone away when you’re not taking pictures) so that you can truly enjoy each other’s company.