11 Ways to Survive Thanksgiving

In just a few short days, it’ll be here: Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend.

But for all the savoury goodness that makes the traditional Thanksgiving celebration so special, it can also come with a lot of stress.

And as Sweet Brown so accurately points out, ain’t nobody got time for that.

So here are 11 ways you can survive Thanksgiving Weekend:

1. Don’t Overcommit
Between divorced parents, in-laws, and the new niece and nephew, it’s easy to somehow find yourself committed to three Thanksgiving dinners and a festive brunch all over the course of one weekend. If you really love the turkey and cranberries that much, by all means, go for it – but you will feel like crap come Tuesday. Making time to see all of your growing extended family this weekend doesn’t mean you need to do a massive feast with all of them.

2. Make Cooking a Party
Whether you’re in charge of the turkey (yikes) or a dessert, give yourself enough time – both in terms of shopping, prep, and post-cooking – so that it isn’t an anxiety-inducing experience that leaves you cursing yourself for agreeing to the whole thing in the first place. Better yet, tap into your culinary side over that great new fall playlist with a glass of wine in hand.

3. Don’t Be Lonely: Do Thanksgiving with Friends  
Even the most independent of all young professionals may experience that sting of homesickness and loneliness when they find themselves without any plans for the weekend. Instead of ordering Swiss Chalet in your sweats, organize your own potluck dinner with some of your other family-less, single friends (they’re out there).

4. Take Time to Relax
It’s been one hell of a busy five weeks since our last long weekend, you know, when the Tuesday after Labour Day hit us all like a slap in the face. A family-oriented, three-day weekend means that there’ll be fewer parties, commitments, and temptations in your city over the weekend. Meaning, it’s a perfect time to bust out those comfy clothes and that book you’ve been neglecting or glue yourself to your couch for a marathon run of your favourite HBO shows while not suffering FOMO doing so. Take advantage of it.

5. Avoid Any and All Conflicts
It’s nothing new that family gatherings have the potential to involve tension, conflicts, and even blowouts in some households. As annoying as your drunken uncle’s ramblings about conspiracy theories may be, as nit-picky as your mother is about both the meal and your life, or as much as you’d love to tape your brother’s bimbo girlfriend’s mouth shut, now’s not the time for conflict. Especially when there’s booze involved. Save any personal squabbles for when you’re able to address them directly without your entire extended family as an audience (you don’t want to see Mom in tears, after all).

6. Take At Least One Weekend Walk
Savour the last drops of sunshine and coat-free weather before it becomes a distant memory. Make it a point to take at least one long walk or hike among mulit-coloured leaves this weekend. Not only will you burn off that bird but also you’ll finally get the fresh air you’ve been craving after a week at the office.

7. If You’re the Host, Keep Your Next Morning Free
Hosting a Thanksgiving dinner is a massive undertaking in itself, from getting your place “parent-ready” to cooking, cleaning, and keeping your guests entertained. Do yourself a favour and keep your next morning (better yet, your whole day) entirely free.

8. Seat Guests Strategically
If you do happen to be the “lucky” host or hostess, strategically arrange the seating at your dinner table to avoid any potential conflicts (there’ll be none of that drama at your house) and to encourage the most dialogue as possible.

9. Bring a Game
A game (as long as it’s not Cards Against Humanity – save that for your friends) is the solution to the sometimes tediously forced banter and a way to keep everyone entertained and interactive with one another. It will also lighten the mood should your whole “conflict management” strategy not work out.

10. Avoid Excessive Alcohol Intake
If you’re craving a ‘big night’, get it out of your system on Thursday or Friday before the weekend really gets into swing. Not only does excessive alcohol invite the potential for any family drama, it also means you probably won’t be hitting the gym or taking that walk to balance out all the grub. Not to mention, it also impairs our ability to exercise restraint in the food department (and all those leftovers are pretty tempting at 3am).

11. Hit the Gym Before Work on Tuesday
Especially if you failed to follow our advice and had a booze, conflict, and multiple turkey dinner-filled weekend, you’re probably going to feel a little sluggish come Tuesday morning. Make a point to hit the gym before work on Tuesday – it will set the stage for the rest of the week. 

You’re welcome.


Cover image from: www.acidcow.com

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