Showing posts with label how to have an easy thanksgiving. Show all posts
Showing posts with label how to have an easy thanksgiving. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Let Mom Experience the Holidays, Too!

As an adult, I have this new respect for my mom and my grandma who worked in the kitchen the whole day on Thanksgiving and even on Christmas to make sure that everyone had a favorite dish to eat on Thanksgiving. For one thing, food is EXPENSIVE and for another thing, it can take a long time to make those dishes.

Now that I'm hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, I realize how time consuming it really is. I felt that I missed most of the Christmas cheer and celebration, last year, so this year, I vowed that it wouldn't happen again.

How Do You Give Yourself Extra Time?

  • Prepare Dishes ahead of time- Prepare any dish that you can the night before. A few weeks ago, I posted 7 different Easy to Make Thanksgiving dishes. Almost every single one of those can be prepared the night before. Then, about 30-40 minutes before the meal is to be served, slip those in the oven (If that's where they go) and voila, you have most of your morning to do what you want to do. 

Related- How to Have an Easy Thanksgiving with These Easy-to-Make Side Dishes

  • Do take out- If your family is happy with ordering out there may still be restaurants open that day, but before deciding to do that, check around your area to see if any of them do offer that. 
  • Don't prepare so much food- I know this seems silly because Thanksgiving-especially- is about being thankful, but also the food spread. If you can find just a few dishes that everyone likes, do that instead.
  • Potluck style- You're already offering your house as a place to gather. Make the turkey and have guests or other family members prepare a dish. As your kids get older, involve them in the cooking.
  • Already Prepared Food- Not everything needs to be homemade. If you can throw some frozen vegetables in the microwave and you want to, do it! Buy that pie that's already made! 
  • Take Turns to Host- If you always host and you don't mind giving up the title to someone else, ask someone else to take over from time to time. If you feel guilty, bring a dish to pass.
  • Use Fake Dishes- Did you know that you can buy fake china? I discovered some Premium Plastic Plates at Sam's Club a few years ago. They look like the real thing, but you don't have to wash them. Just recycle them. I know this can be wasteful, but it really does save you time and you don't have to worry about whether or not you have enough dishes or silverware to serve your guests. 

Prepare Your Food Station Ahead of Time

There's nothing more frustrating than figuring everything out at the last minute. Figure out your game plan! What will you do when it's time to eat? Do you have a place for the food to go?

  • Make room for food- We have a dining room. We try to fit the main dishes in the middle of the table, but it doesn't fit all of it. We end up putting a card table to a side with less foot traffic and put desserts and side dishes on it. If there isn't enough room, put the dessert in the fridge or some other place that's safe from animals and people bumping into it. 
  • Move things around- If you are having guests, the house can get easily crowded. If you can, temporarily move your furniture around so that there is ease of moving around. 
  • Ask Someone to Set the Table- We use our dining room table for everything including socializing. It's difficult to play games or talk when you're doing it over empty dishes. I usually put out a nice tablecloth, maybe some pretty centerpieces, and then leave the rest of the table open. When I know the food is just about ready, I ask my kids to help set the table. Since we have family and friends, I really don't care too much about how it looks after because they still love me for me.
If you have a plan, you don't have to hurriedly scramble things together and keep your wits about you.  

What to Do With the Extra Time that You Get?

Do what you love to do with your family.


  • Play board games- My kids are just getting to the age where they can enjoy and understand some of my favorite board games. We're not quite ready to play Monopoly yet, (maybe Monopoly isn't the game to play on a day when you're supposed to be thankful) but Battleship is pretty easy to play. 
  • Make Crafts- Construction paper is really one of my favorite things to use for crafts. You can make hand turkeys or pilgrim hats. Last year, I cut out a tree trunk and then a base for leaves. Then with red, yellow, and orange construction paper, I cut out tear drop shaped leave and each of us wrote five things we were thankful for, then taped them to the tree for a thankful tree.

We made Turkey puppets, this year. We have Peg Leg Joe, Princess Turkey, Bat Turkey with a cold beak, and Turkey Robin.
  • Watch Movies- It doesn't have to be a Thanksgiving movie or a Christmas movie, just find a movie that you, the kids, and the rest of the family enjoys and pop it in. 
    • Pop some popcorn and add some M&Ms for a special treat.
    • Snuggle up with warm blankets.
    • Drink some hot cocoa! My favorite is Land O' Lakes Hot Cocoa. 
  • Play Some Games with the Adults- It's ok to NOT do everything with your kids. If they are busy watching their own movie or playing without killing each other, play some card games or other games that you don't get to do normally. Moms and Dads- you spend so much time with your kids, it's ok to have adult time. Some of my favorite, and sometimes not appropriate games to play are:
    • Cards Against Humanity- not suitable for children or playing with your grandparents, unless they're dirty minded or politically incorrect.
    • Apples to Apples- This is family friendly. There is a judge who either gives you a word or a description and everyone else who is playing either plays the word or description that they think fits that word best and the judge picks which one is best. 
    • Risk- Like Monopoly, this can cause your family to be estranged. 
    • Scrabble- This is a game that your kids can play if they aren't competitive. It teaches them how to read, spell, and learn new words for their vocabulary. 

If you made a turkey or ham, it's going to be done cooking between 3-5 hours. (perhaps more if it's very large). It's going to need some time to cool, so after you take it out of the oven, throw in your other side dishes that were prepared ahead of time. I know some recipes give different times and temps. What I usually do is find the middle ground and adjust the time accordingly. As long as you're not preparing other meat items, what we're mostly looking for is that the dish is warmed through.

Have your kids set the table and then have everyone sit down and eat.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving or Christmas meal. Remember, this is the time to be Thankful, although we should always be grateful for what we have, but relax. Take it easy and enjoy the ones you love!

Don't let the busyness of these holidays ruin your quality time and enjoyment of the day!