What to do when Thanksgiving, unlike 2020, needs to be simple.
November is looming and with it the nerve-wracking decisions. To stay or to go? Travel or not? The stress of masks, buying hand sanitizer in bulk, and overcrowded airports can feel overwhelming. Everyone has to make a decision about travel that they’re comfortable with, and that follows safety guidelines. But what about an alternative to the busy streets and crowded dinner tables? A simple thanksgiving that reminds us that though the year has been crazy, we still have family, friends, and pumpkin pie to be thankful for.
If you’re searching for a relaxed way to bring in the holiday season, these ideas are precisely what you need. Rather than worrying about staying healthy while on the road, you can enjoy each moment. Read on to discover how to transform this November from stressful to easy.
Step 1: Decorations for all the Fall Vibes
This year, staying home gives us all the more reason to make our space inviting and homey for the holidays. Start sprucing up your house by visiting your local craft store. Some cost-effective ways to get things looking festive are:
- Fake Leaves
They come in gold, orange, and red. (You can usually buy them in a big bag for a fairly low price.) These can be spread throughout the house, added to vases, and used as centerpiece fillers for a bit of autumn.
Candles can transform a house in a matter of minutes. There’s obviously a million fall scents right now, so stock up.
These are perfect for painting, carving, or just sitting on the front porch to add to the theme. This doubles as a fun activity, especially if you didn’t have time to carve a Halloween pumpkin.
- Twinkle lights
These double as Christmas decor, so you probably already have some in a box somewhere. Dig them out a little early to use for fall festivities.
Step Two: Plan a Meal
Good food is not just tradition – it’s a fun way to celebrate from home this year. Bored with turkey? Why not mix it up? Some non-traditional ideas are lasagna, steak, or roast. Pick something fun that you know will turn out well. Or be prepared with a back up if it doesn’t! Pizza, anyone? If you’re set on a traditional meal, here are some great ideas for making it stress-free. A few suggestions to make sure things go smoothly:
- Provide easy appetizers.
Cheese and crackers. Veggie trays, whatever. Appetizers ensure that guests and family aren’t starving, saving you from dealing with crankiness.
- Practice the main course in advance.
This way, the big day will go smoothly. It’s waaay less stressful when you know how the meal will turn out. Either pick something that you’re super familiar with cooking or ensure adequate practice time before the holiday.
- Do yourself a favor and make dessert easy.
Unless baking is your thing, in which case, you probably have a million ideas on your Pinterest board and are already buying ingredients. But if you want to keep the simple Thanksgiving going, just order pies ahead of time.
- Fancy dishes are overrated.
This year, give yourself a break and use disposable plates and silverware. Imagine how much easier clean up will be! There are also super nice plastic dishes available out there if you want to add some flair.
Step Three: Say Hello to Family
If you’ve decided not to travel this year, you might have some disappointed family members or friends. (Most people will be understanding, but if not, know that keeping everyone healthy is the most essential thing, so don’t feel guilty.) Either way, the chances are good they’ll want to talk to you over the holidays.
Schedule a time in advance to talk with family and friends. Do it in the morning, because the afternoon and evening are often taken over with meals, football, and activities. Set aside an hour in the AM to FaceTime or call the people you can’t be with this season.
Step Four: Plan One Activity for a Simple Thanksgiving
This may not even be needed. But people get bored sometimes. Rather than surrender the entire afternoon to sports and turkey, try fitting in something original and fun. Here are some ideas:
- Fall family pictures.
All you need for this is the great outdoors and whoever you’re celebrating the holidays with. Take a walk and find some beautiful scenery. Hello, Christmas cards!
- Movie night.
Late Halloween or early Christmas show? Sometimes a movie is just what everyone needs. Entertainment and family togetherness.
An easy craft is a cool way to celebrate, and everyone can participate.
The festivities this season are likely to be different than ever before. But it can give us all a chance to reflect and get back to the basics of why we get together in the first place. The holidays are all about memories, joy, and hope. With that said, here’s to hoping these ideas help you have a relaxed and simple thanksgiving, and end 2020 on a positive note.