Livin' La Vida Lucia

Thanksgiving Survival Guide

Small Ways to Improve Your Holiday

By Lucia Rossi

I can’t possibly tell you all the horrible things that can go wrong during Thanksgiving day, you probably already know.

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There’s no such thing as the perfect holiday dinner, but there are some ways you can possibly avoid some disasters so you can at least survive it.

The main thing you need to do is PLAN AHEAD. No kidding around, procrastinating preparation for this holiday will make things extremely difficult for you when the day comes. Save yourself the stress by planning about a week or at least a few days in advance. By doing that, you’re already on the path to smooth sailing.

So if you haven’t started, get on it! Even if you’re a guest, think about what you can contribute to make things easier on your friends and family.

Can’t cook? No problem. There are so many easy recipes you can find online. Pinterest is the best place to go to for inspiration, or ya know just google.

Make a list of foods you want at the table, write out a list of ingredients and check out supermarket circulars in the paper or online for the best prices. For the turkey, figure you need one pound per person attending and give it days to thaw in the fridge. Have a backup plan if your turkey fails to cooperate.

Supermarkets are busy with people preparing already. The best time to beat the lines is either early morning before noon and late evening after say 6 o’clock. Mid-day is like rush hour and ain’t nobody got time for that.

Buy the food you can freeze first and then, as the special day approaches, buy your perishables. The day before Thanksgiving, try to make whatever dishes that can be refrigerated and re-heated to save you some time.

Something important to remember is to accommodate everyone, with food and something to do before and after dinner. If children will be present, prepare games for them to play, have football ready on the television, have a good selection of wines and non-alcoholic beverages as well as appetizers and desserts.

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Next, set the mood. Get your autumn pumpkin spice candles ready, play some smooth and upbeat music, set the table with Thanksgiving or fall themes plates, napkins and tablecloths if you like. Decorating isn’t a must, but it shows effort.

Does your family tend to be dysfunctional on holidays? Try your best to prepare for this as well if you think problems will arise. Get co-conspirators on your side to put out a heated conversation or tension. Figure out ways to counteract certain behavior you think will come up in a positive way.

Is someone too critical of your menu? Ask them to bring their favorite dish. It also helps to invite other guests that outside the family because people tend to change their behavior when they’re around strangers for dinner.

Take charge of the seating arrangements if you think it will help. Avoid wine if you think people will over-drink. Try to guide or sway conversations away from politics, keep the topics positive like what you’re thankful for, because it is Thanksgiving after all!

If you’re on a diet then Thanksgiving dinner is your worst enemy. Stay calm, you can resist temptation and still treat yourself. Eat healthy for your breakfast and a light lunch, don’t just save all your calories for dinner. You can make yourself sick and get cranky from hunger. Don’t skip exercise either, do it early or get a lot of walking around in with your cooking preparations. Keep drinking water throughout the day! If you stay hydrated with water, you can curb the urge to reach for snacks. Also, be wise about how much non-water beverages you drink, like alcohol.

When you eat, don’t just dig in, take your time, eat in moderation. This is a celebration so don’t be afraid to treat yourself with food you don’t normally have too. If you’re hosting, get rid of your leftovers. Don’t waste food or stare at it with longing eyes in the fridge.

Comedian Patrick Reidy advises, “Don’t bother escaping to Facebook or Instagram: There lies only sadness and pictures of your friend’s food.”

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Worry about Black Friday when Thanksgiving dinner is over. You’re with your family so BE with your family. You can even make a fun night outing of Black Friday with your family and friends. It’s good to prepare for Christmas early too! I know the sales are irresistible. Even if you can’t go out, there are Black Friday sales online too.

If you want to spot the sales early so you know what you want days in advance, go on Theblackfriday.com. After all, shopping smart is important too.

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Lastly, prepare your look for the holiday. Pick out an outfit that is cold weather appropriate and is festive. Work with colors like oranges, yellows, deep reds, browns, beiges, and white. This is a holiday so clothing should reflect that in a dress, a cute skirt with leggings, or dress pants with a comfy knit sweater. Be comfortable because you’ll be sitting and eating…a lot. Keep your makeup festive as well with same color palette, or just go natural with some mascara and lip balm. It’s up to you.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and don’t let anything that goes awry get you down. Enjoy the holiday!

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