Thanksgiving is the *true* kick off to the holiday season, and with it comes gratitude, family and let’s face it, a little bit of stress. In a perfect world, all of us would be feeling butterflies and rainbows to spend quality time with our own family or our in-laws, but for some, it can be dreadful. If you’re gearing up for holiday hosting and to sit at the Tgivs table with your sometimes *opinionated* in-laws, here are a few ways to help make your night a little less chaotic and a little more enjoyable:
1. Plan ahead
Preparing for dinner takes more than just making your favorite side dish the morning of the big feast. Take a few days the week of Thanksgiving to mentally prepare so that you don’t have a menty b. If you know certain conversations are bound to happen, think about the best way to handle them or draw boundaries prior to dinner to make clear what IS and ISN’T on the table.
2. Avoid taboo topics
Yes, you might want to ‘go there’ with your father-in-law on some controversial topics, but do you really want that to be TODAY? Avoid the chaos and keep banter light-hearted so you protect your space and focus on your true priorities for the day. Politics, religion or gossiping? Save it for the group chat post turkey day.
3. Offer to help
If you’re not hosting, win brownie points (and avoid potentially triggering conversations) by helping out! Whether it’s in the kitchen, setting the table or keeping the kiddos entertained, show your appreciation by putting in even the smallest of effort to help the host. Small gestures can go a long way!
4. Have an escape plan
We would be lying if we said this wasn’t our favorite one. But really, if things become a little too overwhelming or don’t go to plan, you have to know how to get you (and your fam) out of there. You can take a short walk or leave early if you have to, but knowing how to manage your stress can actually help to reduce it. Fresh air is always a good cure, plus you may burn off some of those heavy cream mashed potato calories while you’re at it.
5. Be well-rested
If you know how your mini gets when they are sleep deprived or exhausted, then you know how bad things can get if you don’t get ample sleep before the big night too! There’s nothing worse than dealing with cranky kids and difficult parents or in-laws when you’re cranky yourself.
6. Don’t have expectations
Expectations can oftentimes lead to disappointment, so do yourself a favor and don’t set the bar high to avoid what might be unmet. When you don’t expect it, you can’t be disappointed by it and you’ll avoid strong emotions like anger or sadness. The key here is to be able to adapt easily to whatever the night may bring. Bring the zen, baby.
7. Be thankful
Even if spending time with your in-laws may be the most taxiing and dreadful aspect of your month, they did bring you to your significant other to the world after all! It’s also their first time navigating life with YOU in it, so try to give them some grace and remind yourself to hold gratitude at this time of year. After all, Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for the numerous positives in your life. Suddenly, a few long hours with your in-laws might not seem like a bad trade off.