Tips for a Low-Stress Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving cupcakes, turkeys made of fondant  Photo credit: WishUponACupcake on Flickr

In the Maritimes, the changing of the leaves is almost synonymous with Canadian Thanksgiving. The holiday is linked to the European tradition of harvest festivals. A common image seen at this time of year is a cornucopia—or horn—representing the “Horn of Plenty,” a symbol of bounty and plenty that dates back to ancient Greece.

While few household boast an actual horn these days, many families host a large dinner for friends and family featuring the the bounty of the fall. If you are hosting a dinner this weekend and are looking for some tips to keep it low stress, here are a few tips:

  • Shop on Friday or Saturday. While it may seem like leaving things to the last minute, this is when the stores have the most stock. You’ll find the best choices, and often the best deals. Alas you won’t be the only only out so be sure budget some extra time and wear comfortable shoes!
  • Shop with a friend or neighbour and save. Shopping with a friend is a great chance to chat and catch up while you pick up your groceries and wait in the inevitable lines. Getting together with friends also allows you to buy in bulk and save some money , or even split some of the cooking and save some time.
  • Know how much turkey you need. Most people by bigger than they need and it ends up going to waste. Quantities vary depending upon your appetite, side dishes and desire for leftovers. A generous rule of thumb is 0.75 kg (1.5 lbs) per person. For 6 people, that is a 4.5 kg (9 lbs) turkey.
  • Share the cooking. If you are hosting, you can provide the turkey, but ask your guests to bring their favourite or traditional dishes. This reduces your work load, while and helps your guests feel part of the special day. Learning about the history of the dishes also provides great dinner conversation and helps you all get to know each other better.
  • Organize activities. While watching football is a Thanksgiving tradition for many families, some people may not want to spend the day in front of the TV. If the weather permits, think of organizing a touch football or street hockey game or going on a short hike to enjoy the fall foliage. Board games and puzzles are great indoor alternatives. If there will be lots of children around, plan some seasonal arts or craft activity to keep them busy.

Do you have any thoughts or ideas on how to host a low stress Thanksgiving dinner? Let us know in the comments

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