Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. When I was growing up, we spent Thanksgiving with my dad’s family and Christmas with my mom’s. I had a LOT of cousins on my dad’s side and didn’t get to see them as often as I would have liked, so Thanksgiving was a fun time to be with all the kids and have FUN. Other than setting the table, the kids didn’t have many responsibilities so we were pretty much guaranteed a stress-free holiday dinner!
Now that I’m an adult, I can see how much work actually goes into creating an amazing Thanksgiving meal and experience. I cooked my first Thanksgiving meal a few years back when it was just Jay and I, and I couldn’t believe how much work it was just for the two of us!! Add in extended family, some strong personalities, and even politics and you might find your Thanksgiving anything but stress-free!
Here are a few things you can do to help you and your guests have a stress-free Thanksgiving this year.
Delegate easy tasks.
I know whenever I am invited as a guest to someone else’s holiday celebration, I don’t mind a bit bringing something along to share. Enlist the help of your guests with easy things like appetizers, drinks or even a side dish or two. Don’t be afraid to assign jobs both before the big day and during. Maybe Uncle Frank would make a great bartender if you have a mixed drink kind of crowd. Enlist one of your kids to be in charge of answering the door and putting away guests’ coats. The more others can do, the less you will have to!
Hire a Cleaning Service.
You don’t have to have a regular cleaning person in order to have someone clean your home before a specific event. Many of the maid and cleaning services offer one time rates to come in and vacuum, clean the bathrooms, and do some dusting. Those do tend to book up quickly though, so be sure to call soon and reserve your spot!
Guide the Conversation.
When conversations turn political, they tend to get heated and contentious. Enlist one or two of your guests to help redirect the conversation if it starts heading in a political direction. Having a list of neutral questions or topics on hand to refer to can be a help if things start getting stressful. If you have a lull in the activities where it seems like people might be tempted to start a political argument, have a fun board game on hand to introduce.
I learned this one from my mom (thanks Mom!!). Decide what time you want to eat, list out what you need to cook/heat up. for how long, and at what temperature. Then make your to do list based on how long each item takes with the goal being having everything done at the right end time. I tend to leave a 5-10 minute buffer between tasks/items, just in case. Remember. failing to plan is just planning to fail. Download and print off this free planning printable to help you schedule your cooking times.
Have Dinner Delivered
If you’re not a cook or just don’t want the stress of cooking an entire Thanksgiving dinner on your shoulders, consider having dinner delivered. Boston Market offers a Complete Thanksgiving Meal for 12 that will make your mouth water just looking at it! It includes a fully cooked whole roasted turkey, home style stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, spinach and artichoke dip with crackers, dinner rolls, cranberry walnut sauce and apple and pumpkin pies.
We had the chance to sample the dinner and were really impressed! Each of the sides can be heated up in the oven or in the microwave. The turkey comes with a bag and only needs to be heated (as it is precooked) so there is no way to mess it up!
It came out juicy and delicious and I might have been tempted to pass the whole off as my own creation had I not already tipped off my family that I was trying this cool service. If you plan ahead and ditch all of the containers in the trash before your guests arrive, they would never know you didn’t spend hours in the kitchen!
The entire dinner does come completely frozen and you will need to allow a few days for it to defrost. Because of this, Boston Market will only be delivering these up until Sunday, November 19th, so you will want to go to BostonMarket.com and order yours now. Like RIGHT NOW. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Why haven’t you gone to order it yet? It’s only $119.99 which is such a small price to pay for a stress-free holiday celebration!
Oh, so a full sized turkey dinner isn’t your thing? You have some ham lovers at your celebration? Or you have a talented baker in the family who will bring pies for you? Your crowd isn’t a whopping 12 guests? Not a problem. In fact Boston Market offers a variety of different meal combinations that you can have delivered:
• Combo Boneless Roasted Turkey Breast & Boneless Ham Meal for 12: A combo meal option including a boneless roasted turkey breast and boneless ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, home style stuffing, cranberry walnut relish, spinach artichoke dip and crackers, cinnamon apples, dinner rolls, an apple pie and a pumpkin pie for $119.99.
• Basic Thanksgiving Meal for 12: The Basic Thanksgiving Meal for 12 includes a whole roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, home style stuffing and dinner rolls for $99.99.
• Boneless Roasted Turkey Breast Meal for 4-6: The Boneless Roasted Turkey Breast Meal for 4-6 includes a boneless roasted turkey breast, mashed potatoes and gravy, home style stuffing, cranberry walnut relish, spinach artichoke dip and crackers, dinner rolls, an apple pie and a pumpkin pie for $84.99.
• Boneless Ham Meal for 4-6: The Boneless Ham Meal for 4-6 includes a boneless ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, home style stuffing, cranberry walnut relish, spinach artichoke dip and crackers, dinner rolls, an apple pie and a pumpkin pie for $84.99.
But I’m just going to throw an unsolicited recommendation in here. Even if you don’t have 12 folks coming – maybe it’s more like 6 – get the bigger meal. The food is yummy enough that Uncle Al will be going for seconds (and maybe thirds) even though he is full and you will definitely want some leftovers! Yep, it’s that good!!