They say Thanksgiving is the most important meal of the year, and if you’re the host or hostess that’s a TON of pressure! Since it’s such an important holiday here in the US, I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts on how to achieve a stress-free thanksgiving. Or at least, the lowest level of stress possible.

Having hosted hundreds of events over the years (for both clients when I was an event planner and myself just for fun) I’m well-versed in every kind of event stress you can imagine. The advice I’d give you for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving is the same I’d say if you find yourself in a burning building… the most important thing to do is stay calm!

Be Prepared – Just like the Boy Scouts, a great host needs to be prepared. I have shopping lists and to do lists and even a timeline for the day of. Call my nuts, but it helps me to stay organized and I can also troubleshoot in advance.

For instance, when I look over my list and see that seven people are bringing side dishes in a crockpot that reminds me that I need to make sure I’ve got enough power strips to accommodate them. The more you can plan in advance the last stressed you’ll be day of. 

Get Ahead – I do whatever I possibly can ahead of time. Shop for non-parishables, clean the guest bathroom, prep my vases for centerpieces etc. There’s nothing worse than getting to Thanksgiving dinner and being utterly exhausted because you’ve spent that last 72 hours preparing. Spread it out and you’ll be infinitely less worn out.

Accept Help – One of my biggest issues as a hostess is allowing others to help me. I want so much for my guests to be able to relax and enjoy and so I tend to tell them no thank you when they offer to bring a dish or come early to help set up. But here’s the thing, we usually have 50 people at our house for Thanksgiving and that’s crazy town! No way I could do it all alone without losing my mind. So if you offer to help I will say Yes Please and Thank You. Don’t let your pride get in the way of enjoying this day. 

Let It Go – No, I’m not talking about Frozen here (though planning some fun movies for your kiddos to stay occupied in the last hour before guests arrive is a great idea) I’m talking about the idea that everything needs to be perfect. Plan the very best that you can and then a couple hours before everyone arrives take a breath and accept that everything will be whatever it will be. If you spend your day stressing about tiny imperfections or the fact that your stuffing is a little burnt you will miss the joy of the holiday. Focus on the positives like the green bean casserole having just the right amount of crispy topping or the fact that your children get to play with their cousins. You can find negatives in this day if you look for them, but the same can be said for all the good stuff.

Enjoy  – This is my greatest piece of advice! I want to be relaxed and enjoy the time with my family but I’m usually so keyed up from getting everything ready that it’s hard to get there. Whether you pour yourself a glass of wine, put on your favorite pre-dinner pump up song, or snag an extra piece of pie for dessert 😉 be sure to take some time to just enjoy the holiday and your loved ones. Whether everything goes as planned or not, it’s important that YOU get a chance to relax and spend time with your friends and family!  I hope you all have a wonderful and stress-free Thanksgiving with your families! xo, Rachel