As November arrives, it can be all too easy to let the stress of Thanksgiving set in. It’s such a big event, close to our hearts! Consequently, there’s a lot of expectation attached to it. So, how do we enjoy a stress-free Thanksgiving?
Join us as we explore tips for a stress-free Thanksgiving and share advice on planning the best Thanksgiving yet.
Thanksgiving Stress: Focus On What Counts
Before you get started on your epic shopping list or begin to message guests with times and details, pause and focus on what counts.
In fact, this one simple action is perhaps the most important to achieving a stress-free Thanksgiving.
Maybe you could ask yourself this one question and write the answer down in your journal or on your phone?
‘What three things mean the most to me about Thanksgiving?’
This can be a great way to approach any potentially stressful life event. If you ask the same question about your wedding, for example, it can help you focus on the really important parts. In fact, you might say that for your wedding, the three most important things would be to invite a large guest list, to have live music, and to have lots of dancing!
As a result, the answers you give will impact how you plan your big day. In fact, you’d make sure you got married somewhere that was set up for a live band to play and somewhere big enough to host your whole community. Equally important, you’d time the day to make sure you had a few hours on the dance floor!
Prioritizing and making good decisions
Doing the same for Thanksgiving will help you prioritize and make good decisions. Is the most important thing to be able to invite your whole family, friends, and neighbors? Well, maybe scale back on the food plans and cook a simple dish instead. Or, do you love marking celebratory occasions with delicious food? If so, perhaps keep your guest list small and intimate and plan a decadent three-course meal.
Honing in on the few things that really matter to you about Thanksgiving can really help take the stress out of the holiday. And proritizing them will mean you get the Thanksgiving thats right for you!
Thanksgiving stress: Get organized
Thanksgiving is a time to get organized. Here are a few items to consider as you head towards the big day:
Finalize numbers: check in with all of your invited guests to finalize numbers. Some may have realized they’ve double booked; others may spring a plus one on you. Checking in with them now can prevent any stressful last-minute changes.
Menu plan and write an exhaustive list: plan your menu and then write a shopping list that covers every eventuality. Having extra snacks and plentiful drink options will take the pressure off if food takes longer than planned.
Book an online shop: either book an online grocery shop to arrive the day before or block out the time for a visit to the store in your diary.
In the weeks leading up to the event, make sure you’ve got the items below ticked off, and you’ll arrive at the holiday feeling much more peaceful.
A chance to practice thankfulness
The origins of the Thanksgiving holiday are rooted in thankfulness and in celebrating the blessing of a good harvest. As a matter of fact, the holiday also marks the coming together of two groups, both key in America’s history.
As Christians, celebrating Thanksgiving now provides a wonderful opportunity to practice gratitude.
Psalm 69:30 says: “I will praise God’s name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving.”
In Colossians 3 Paul reminds us to have thankfulness in our hearts. Throughout the Psalms, David gives thanks over and over to God. One example is in Psalm 9 where David sings of giving thanks to God with his whole heart and of recounting His wonderful deeds.
So, while Thanksgiving is rooted in America’s history, we can also make it a celebration that we root in our faith.
Thanksgiving Stress: Trade Stress For Peace
Your commitment to gratitude over Thanksgiving can extend beyond the simple thank-yous as you sit down to dinner.
Why not practice gratitude in every moment of your preparation for the holiday?
Consequently, as we express our thanksgiving to God, we actively shift our perspective away from our troubles and back to our blessings.
Colossians remind us to ‘”set our minds on things above”. This simple instruction guides us into living with heaven’s perspective. Invite the goodness of heaven into your life today.
Line Up A Gratitude Exercise
Why not try a new gratitude exercise this Thanksgiving? After all, a fresh approach to giving thanks can provoke new thoughts and leave you and your guests feeling uplifted and encouraged.
For instance, here are two ideas to include in your Thanksgiving feast this year:
Pop a large glass jar in the center of your table. Next, add a pencil and some strips of paper to each place setting, and encourage your guests to write down things they are thankful for and add them to the jar. In fact, keep going until the end of the meal or your jar is filled up, and take a moment to appreciate the sheer number of blessings as you read them out to each other.
Prepare three gratitude prompts or questions and ask one with each course. For example, ‘name five people you’re thankful for’ or ‘what one thing are you glad you experienced this year?’.
In fact, using these questions will help your guests find more and more things they’re thankful for. After all, the joy of focusing on all the ways God has been good to them will fill them up.
A combination of getting organized and turning your heart towards gratitude can mean you have a Thanksgiving that’s filled with joy instead of stress.
Thank you for the blessing of friends, family, and food to celebrate with.
Help me to still be present and focused on the people at my table.
Help me to make people feel warm, welcomed, and at home.
I ask you to create an atmosphere of joy and gratitude as we sit and eat together.
As we eat, share, and talk, let us feel your presence and your goodness.