If you’re like a lot of families, Thanksgiving is as much about deciding where to eat as deciding what to eat. Many people have multiple Thanksgiving dinner invitations. Some truly overachieving moms even try to hustle the family to more than one Turkey Day dinner!
Why not try something simpler this year by keeping things small? These stay at home Thanksgiving Day ideas will help make this year one to remember.
1. Do What is Best for your Family
It’s likely that the hardest part about having a stay at home Thanksgiving is turning down the relatives without offending anyone. The first step is to determine your reasoning for wanting to have Thanksgiving at home. Perhaps you have small children that might not do well at a boisterous family gathering. Maybe you don’t want to travel this year or can’t afford to do so. Perhaps you feel like your family is in need of some “alone time.”
2. Talk With Your Spouse First
Whatever your reason, talk it through with your spouse or partner before approaching the relatives, especially if his side of the family is hosting. Practice delivering the Thanksgiving news before actually doing so. Hopefully your calm, polite explanation of the situation will ease any hurt feelings. To make things go smoother, offer to meet with relatives at another time or be willing to share another holiday with the group.
3. Plan Stay at Home Thanksgiving Day Ideas
Once you’ve managed to clear your Thanksgiving Day schedule, it’s time to go about creating the special family day you’ve been dreaming of. The following ideas will make Thanksgiving at home an event full of family memories.
How to Have a Great Thanksgiving With Kids
- If you have small children, a formal Thanksgiving dinner can be challenging at best. Remake the day as one that kids will love by lowering diningexpectations and including kid friendly activities and food.
- Begin the day by encouraging dad to spend some quality time with the little ones while you start cooking. Have the kids make paper pilgrim and Native American hats. Send the troop outdoors to pretend to be settlers arriving in America. Dad may want to take the kids to a local park or natural area to enhance the activity.
- Let the kids help with the menu plan. Make Thanksgiving a true family event by allowing each child to pick a favorite dish as part of the menu. Try to include little ones by incorporating recipes that they can help make. Mashing potatoes, snapping beans, adding whipped cream to pies, and measuring ingredients are all kid-friendly kitchen jobs.
- Help kids fill the time while waiting for dinner (or lunch if that works better for your family) by having them craft centerpieces for the table. There are hundreds of Thanksgiving craft ideas on the internet. Pick a few to keep little hands busy while mom and dad work on the food.
How to Have a Great Thanksgiving with Teens
Teens are especially in need of absorbing some of the spirit of gratitude that prevails at Thanksgiving. One dramatic way to encourage this is to have a Thanksgiving famine instead of feast. Make a very simple meal with small servings for each person. Explain that this represents the type and amount of food served in many countries throughout the world. Take the opportunity to have a family discussion about poverty, compassion and gratitude.
If you can’t stomach the idea of a Thanksgiving famine, consider taking the entire family to volunteer at a local homeless shelter. Seeing families spend the holiday without a place to live will bring home the meaning of the day to teens and adults alike.