Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday next to Christmas, especially because it is a few days before my birthday. This holiday is about showing gratitude and fellowshipping with others. However, any time a group of people gets together there is always a chance for things to go awry. So, follow my time-tested tips below for a delightful, blessed, feel-good, stress and conflict free Thanksgiving.

  • Do start the meal with a Thanksgiving toast. A great way to start the Thanksgiving celebration is for the host to give a welcome toast at the start of the meal. If the toast is directed at one specific person then that person would not hold up their glass or drink. Instead they would smile and acknowledge the toast. The holidays with my family is mostly alcohol free, therefore if we toast it would be with juice. Do not feel that you must use wine or champagne for the toast because any beverage will do. Be careful not to toast with an empty glass because that is a no-no.  Also, do not tap your glass with a spoon to get everyone’s attention, instead just stand up and speak loudly. Guests at the feast should also give a toast back to the host right before or during dessert to show their appreciation to them for the meal.  
  • Don’t get into debates on this day. The older I get I am finding more and more people who do not necessarily think like I do. Even amongst close friends and family, you are likely to find someone who thinks differently than you do. Thanksgiving is a time to come together and be thankful, so while you may feel strongly about certain topics, avoid any serious debates on this day. You may even have to step in and be the peacemaker for others during the festivities. Remind everyone what the day is about, and encourage him or her to agree to disagree and enjoy the rest to the day. 
  • Do reach out and show attention to those who may be hurting during this time. Even though Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, I am cognizant of the fact that there are people hurting during this time as well. Many people have a difficult time during the holidays because they are lonely or they may be dealing with loss of some kind. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to invite people with no close family or those dealing with loss to spend time with you and your family to help relieve their minds. This holiday is all about sharing, caring and taking care of those who are in need.  
  • Don’t forget to bring a dish for the meal. Thanksgiving is also about sharing, so be sure to help the host out by bringing a covered dish to complete the Thanksgiving spread. For example, I love my aunt’s sweet potato pie, as well as my cousin’s potato salad. Having all my favorite dishes on Thanksgiving makes the day even more special. Everyone bringing side dishes takes some of the stress off my great-aunt who hosts Thanksgiving every year. This means less time in the kitchen and more time with family and friends for everyone.