It's 2pm on Thanksgiving Day, you're in the kitchen, stressed-out, covered in gravy, feeling tremendous pressure to get a large dead bird out of the oven at exactly the right time, cursing the day when you told your friends and family you would host this holiday, while everybody else in your home is in the next room watching football and relaxing.
If this sounds familiar to you or if just going to your family's for Thanksgiving brings up anxiety, use these four steps to transform your holiday experience from harried and uncomfortable to meaningful and enjoyable. 4 Ways To Protect Your Relationship During the Holidays
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1. Stay Connected To The Meaning Of Giving Thanks. With Black Friday literally looming just hours after Thanksgiving dinner, it's easy to get sucked in to thinking about Thanksgiving as simply the kick off of the holiday shopping season, filled with it's own set of tasks and pressures.
This year, make a point to use the entire week of Thanksgiving to focus on who and what you are grateful for in your life. Consider keeping a gratitude journal or starting a new tradition on Thanksgiving Day for everyone to talk about what they are grateful for. If the prospect of seeing a member of your family or an in-law makes you tense, take a few minutes during the week to write down at least three reasons you have to be thankful for having that person in your life. Read over your gratitude points on Thanksgiving morning to help you reconnect with the true meaning of Thanksgiving.
2. Give Your Holiday A New Twist. If hosting Thanksgiving doesn't appeal to you or if your family's tradition is more stressful than fun, find a new way to share this holiday together. Volunteer at a homeless shelter as a group or invite friends or colleagues to spend the holiday with your family. Share a simple meal together either at a restaurant or someone's home and then go do something fun together such as see a movie or go bowling or for a hike. Create a new ritual that everyone can enjoy.
3. Don't Do It All Yourself. If you have already committed to hosting Thanksgiving this year, make it as easy as possible by asking all your guests to bring at least one item or be responsible for a specific course such as appetizers or desserts. By spreading out the responsibility for the meal, you will not only cut down on food preparation time, but you'll also shorten the amount of time spent grocery shopping and help everyone take ownership of the holiday.
Make it fun and heighten the enthusiasm by announcing a contest where everyone will vote for the best dish brought by a guest. You'll be surprised how a cooking contest will inspire your family members to make something really special, even those that usually don't cook. You can also buy certain items already made from a local caterer or grocery store and just warm them up on Thanksgiving Day. Evaluate each part of your holiday to see how you can make it simpler and more fulfilling.
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