How can it be Thanksgiving already?! Time flies when you are having fun. Or raising kids. Or working. Thanksgiving used to be one of my favorite holidays. Fall is a great time of year. In the south we could still spend time outside if our large extended family gathering got the best of you. I never knew how much I would miss everyone talking over each other and trying to find somewhere to sit. The food our grandmothers and aunts prepared was wonderful and it was the only time of year we saw much of our family. Many of those special people are gone now, while some of us have moved far away, and the traditions and gatherings are disappearing.
Since we have moved to the Midwest I dread Thanksgiving. It is difficult for me to get into the mood to cook a large festive meal for the four of us. First of all I am not a great cook. Also, there are no cousins or mother in law here to talk and laugh with as I clean up the mess of my kitchen. But, this year I am going to try to do a better job of creating great memories for my family. I just have to remind myself that the holiday does not have to be an elaborate affair. Below are a few tips for a simple Thanksgiving.
1.Have a Simple Menu
2 or 3 sides
tea and water
The first thing on my Thanksgiving list is a simple menu. To avoid having too many leftovers I am only going to cook a ham or turkey but not both. My family tires of leftovers after a few days. We just do not have to have that much food prepared for a family of four. If you you do not want to have to cook both meats then just say No!...lol You can cook one at Thanksgiving and the other at Christmas. If you enjoy all the cooking and baking then go for it! I also ask for everyone to tell me their favorite dish. That way they can help prepare it and are more likely to eat it.
2. Use Simple Decorations
If you do not enjoy decorating for the holidays have the kids put some pinecones in a glass jar or bowl. Put a couple of tiny pumpkins in the mix. Voila. When Christmas comes around change them out for bright, shiny glass ornaments. Have the your children trace their hands to make turkeys and color them. You can also use kraft paper for a tablecloth. Have people sign their names, write what they are thankful for, or draw pictures. You will be surprised how long this can keep children and adults amused.
3. Start and Keep Simple Traditions
Do you have fond memories of family traditions? This year mix things up so that everyone is included in the festivities.
-Have the men do the dishes. I am instituting a new family tradition. The boys and their dad are going to clean up. Sounds like a plan to me!
-Invite another family to share your Thanksgiving meal who does not have family nearby. I know many families who do this as we have in the past. Or, share dessert. A friend of mine may come over after our meal while my husband and older son are out hunting.
-Play a board game. Scrabble and Mexican Train are our family favorites.
-Do a craft with the kids. Make Christmas ornaments or have the smaller ones color.
The bottom line is to have a simple Thanksgiving. Make sure that everyone is having fun, including youself.
I would love to hear about your Simple Thanksgiving plans!