Planning to Say NO to Thanksgiving Stress

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Tips to Keep the Stress Out of Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is almost here and it would be easy for all of us Sandwich Generation senior home care givers to start getting stressed and anxious. Too many of us feel that everything has to be done, and done perfectly, when the reality is, that simpler is easier and less stressful for all. The most important part of the holidays really should be connecting with each other. Here are a few simple tips to have a more enjoyable Thanksgiving dinner and visit with friends and family.

Plan Ahead

While planning the Thanksgiving meal, do you plan who is going to help?  Instead of doing it all yourself, ask friends and family to helpThis is especially important for senior home care givers. I don’t know about you, but in my season of life, I can’t guarantee anything for sure. 🙂  So I always plan backups of backups. Asking others to help is one of the easiest ways to accomplish that.  Make a list of what needs done before everyone arrives.  Give everyone something to do and assign things that are age appropriate to the children.  Even plan the after-dinner cleanup and leftover divisions. Before you know it, the leftovers will be wrapped in foil and everyone will have had a great time.

Covered Dish Meal

If you are having or attending a large group get-together for Thanksgiving, divide the menu between all who are attending. The host family can provide the main dish (turkey or ham) and the drinks. Each of the other families can bring a favorite side dish and dessert. If you want to make sure there is a variety, provide a menu and mark things off as people choose what they want to fix.  I’ve done this successfully with both Bible study pot lucks and family get-togethers. This year, I am bringing a yummy pumpkin pie and my specialty salad.


As I said before, simplifying is good. Instead of having a huge feast, prepare a smaller meal.  We all tend to overeat at Thanksgiving, so make an effort to make fewer dishes.  Not only will the preparation be smaller, so will our waistlines.  Our family rarely makes stuffing anymore. We all love it, but it is fattening and with all the other goodies, we never miss it.

Another option is to prepare as much ahead of time as you can. Slow cookers can be used to make all kinds of foods, even desserts.  Many things can also be made as “freezer meals” and stored for weeks before re-heating them.  The less actual cooking you need to do on Thanksgiving, the lower your stress levels will be.

Be Thankful

Simply taking the time to be thankful for all our blessings can reduce our stress levels.  I like to make place cards for each person with Bible verses of thanksgiving. I also love the custom where everyone shares 1-3 things they are thankful for, either before or after dinner.

Stop and Smell the Roses

Do you love flowers as much as I do? And have you ever noticed that when you take a moment to stop and smell them, it seems to help relax you. You might want to add some Thanksgiving Flowers to your plan.  In fact, add holiday flowers to your list BEFORE the holiday and stop and enjoy them for a second or two throughout the preparation process.


Following your plan, including stopping to smell the Thanksgiving flowers, means you really can enjoy a more peaceful and happy Thanksgiving even in the midst of senior home care giving!

The Wright Stuff
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  1. RT @SandwichINK New blog post:: Planning to Say NO to Thanksgiving Stress

  2. Hi Mary, Thank you 🙂

    • Mary
    • November 17, 2009

    These are marvelous suggestions! Thanks for posting this:-)
    .-= Mary´s last blog ..The Air I Breathe =-.

    • Mary
    • November 23, 2009

    Thanks for the great post.

    My son called at 2:00a.m. last night and first said he was alright. Then he said that his college apartment building had been evacuated due to another apartment being on fire due to a faulty dryer.

    He and his college roommates are alright and it appears that although there is a great deal of damage, no one was hurt.

    My belief in life is that an ‘attitude of gratitude’ helps us get through each and every day, but some more than others. Today is one of those more than other days.

    Thanks for the great post.
    .-= Mary´s last blog ..Finding an Elder Law Attorney to be Your Medicaid Advisor =-.

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