How to survive Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving is an elaborate affair with a bountiful supply of food, lovingly prepared by all who wish to take part in the feast.  Even the kids are doing their part by decorating the table and helping to clean up afterwards.  There are smiles all around and the atmosphere is alive with gratitude.  Yes, it’s perfect.

And then you realise you’ve been watching too many fantasy holiday-themed movies, which raised your expectations a few bars too high.  Reality sinks in and you find yourself busy whipping up batter for a dessert you forgot to make, while the kids play a rowdy game of badminton with the paper frills meant to go on the turkey legs.  This is the moment when all hosts wish they knew how to survive Thanksgiving.

This time of year can be trying, so we’ve compiled a list of five tips to help you get through Thanksgiving with minimal mental and physical damage.

  1. Social media will ruin you

There lies only sadness, despair and drama in the online world on Thanksgiving.  Don’t open that can of worms.  If you thought you’d be able to glean some inspiration from other people’s Thanksgiving posts about food, you’re sorely mistaken.

On the one hand, you’ll see Martha Stewart style feasts conjured up by the constant overachiever, which will leave you feeling hopelessly inadequate. And on the other, you’ll witness drama and depression by those who are either alone eating noodles, or regretting opening their home to the whole family.

  1. Keep the politics out of it

Under no circumstances are politics allowed.  The meaning of politics in the context of Thanksgiving dinner is twofold: (1) State and (2) family.

The last thing you want is a heated political debate resulting in gravy boats and bread sticks being flung across the table.  If the topic comes up, kill it.  Kill it swiftly.

Equally heinous, is family politics. If there’s bad blood between certain relatives, make sure that everyone knows their place and should not speak out of turn.  If you can sense an impending blowout and your Jedi family management skills are failing you, take control and guide the conversation topics to safer ground. If that fails, go to your happy place until it’s all over and everybody leaves.

  1. Rally the troops

To defend your sanity as the host, delegate duties to everyone who wishes to be fed on the day.  If you’re particularly stressed about your budget or pressed for time, there’s no reason to undertake this mammoth task by yourself.  Ask everyone to bring something to the table.  If each guest provides a salad, dessert, sauce or side dish, it will lighten your load significantly.

Alternatively, and if you want your own recipes to be followed, station each person at an appliance in the kitchen with a recipe in hand.  That way you get what you want without having to do it all by yourself.  What’s more, the cleaning duties also have to be shared.

  1. When all else fails, let them eat cake

Accidents happen and plans fail, but it can all be overcome. If the turkey gets incinerated by whoever was on oven-duty, you’ll need a back-up plan.

Let everyone eat dessert for dinner or, alternatively, order takeout if there are any outlets open near you on Thanksgiving.  Note:  Always keep a stockpile of frozen pizza in case of disaster.

  1. Surviving Black Friday

Standing in a queue at 4am with everyone pushing until you’re all squashed flat like a deck of playing cards is the worst thing imaginable, as you’ll probably still be in a food coma after the Thanksgiving feast.

Rather stay in and take advantage of all the Black Friday online deals, and don’t forget about Cyber Monday that follows.  You can still snatch up all the deals from the comfort of your own home.


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