In past, my holidays during thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings were hectic, stressful and hurried. I did not enjoy it as much as I should have. I was so busy trying to impress my friends and family to top previous year's recipes, new decorations, giving creative goodies bags to kids and adults all alike, just because I thought that what made happy holidays. How wrong I was.
Now our thanksgiving party has become smaller, more meaningful and lot more enjoyable. Here are a few changes that made it possible and maybe you can too.
1. Do not accept every invitation, be selective, who you invite or whose party to go to. If you get no invitation, plan one your self or enjoy alone time volunteering many thanksgiving food charity.
2. If you are hosting, plan a simple a menu or plan a potluck. Make sure, everyone gets different food, so you do not end up with 6 pumpkin pie and no main course.
3. Do simple decoration and entertainment plan. Simple pumpkin, or colorful foliage leaves can make a great center piece.
4. Have everyone say 2 things (at least) they are thankful for at the dinner table.
5. Buy and do prep work before the party, delegate some work to others.
6. Use nice plates and glass. If you must use paper plates, use biodegradable. It is better for environment.
7. Have a few people pitch in to clear up table, do the dishes while a few adults can entertain/play games with kids in other area. Do that for other host too. Work gets done faster and host also gets to enjoy without pile of dishes waiting for them.
8. If you must give goodies bag to every guest, make it home made, simple that will be used.
9. Everyone can do craft and take it go home. For example, everyone can paint a small wood frame and put thanksgiving picture (later) to display.
10. Make sure there is dedicated camera person, so you will have memories to share. Make sure camera person in a few pictures themselves too.
11. If you have extra food, share it with neighbours who are alone (or invite them), share it to homeless people or people who are unemployed, or at shelter.
12. Write your own reasons for being thankful in colorful construction paper, make a nice leaf cutout and put it all those leaves on rope and display through out Holiday season.
13. If you can not be with family or friends, enjoy with your spouse or kid(s), if you are single, you can still can celebrate. (See #1 above)
14. If someone has made your life helpful, please say thank you to them in person, handwriting letter, or call them to say thank you.
15. Be thankful and kind to others whom you do not know, but are helpful by working on thanksgiving day such as some gas station, police, hospital people, day labor folks, homeless people, air port employees etc.
16. Make a simple tradition to do with your family that is not materialistic but meaningful. Repeat every year with family without pressure to top it.
17. Do not try to impress your loved ones, they are already your friends and family. They will love you, even if your house is bit messy, your recipe is not better than last year.
18. Just relax and enjoy.
What are your stress free holiday party tips? How do you enjoy the thanksgiving?