Unless your oven conks out, your Thanksgiving meal will get cooked. Everyone puts so much thought and effort into the food that we just know that the flavor of your meal will be wonderful, wherever you eat it.
What causes our annual breakout of holiday hives is that Thanksgiving food is endlessly thought about but not the entirety of the day. Children need to be entertained, elderly people need to be entertained, lonely neighbors and acquaintances need to be invited, not to mention making sure that you yourself are taken care of. If you are in charge of the day and you break down, well then, everyone is in trouble. No one will mind if there is no creamed cauliflower, but they will mind if no one is getting along and the children are screaming and the sister-in-laws are bickering and the table is rushed to and and then abandoned in a total of fifteen minutes. No one can enjoy delicious food through gritted teeth.
- Start grocery shopping today and tomorrow and be sure to get to the store first thing in the morning. Do not try to accomplish all your shopping in one fell swoop.
- Make sure everyone has a task to do. This is no time to be a hero. People like to help. Let them.
- Set the table the day before if you can. If not, be sure to delegate it to people not actively involved in cooking.
- Assign the turkey carving to a person of competence as early as possible.
- When someone asks what they can bring assign bottles of wine, or to bakers, a homemade pie.
Thanksgiving and Christmas are the two days you have to have people over who may be difficult whether you want them or not. This is the time to dig deep by biting your tongue, mediating, and to let things go. If you can maintain your sense of humor other people will follow your lead. Tense moments dissipate in the face of giggling and laughter. If difficult people realize their barbs are not hitting home, they may cease to throw them.