Updated 10/26/17**

Okay, so Halloween is not quite behind us and we are already talking Thanksgiving. Why? Well, because we want to be sure we carve out enough time to actually enjoy it this year.  It seems that a lot of us are struggling with feeling over scheduled, under budget and rather overwhelmed these days. The good news is sometimes when I get to this place, it forces me to re-evaluate my priorities and alter expectations, which is why now my focus is on how to simplify Thanksgiving.  Bottom line: I want everyone to remember this year’s gathering as a time of enjoyment. After all, there are no costumes or presents needed. Just family, friends and food. Oh, and a couple of extra elements to enhance cozy corners for napping!

Schedule some relaxation

Relaxing on the Bed


I’ve had almost every possible Thanksgiving set up that exists: away from home and those spent with friends, dashing from one family meal to a second one immediately following, dining with only my immediate family, and one tragic year where I spent the entire day reading books in the airport because I had missed my flight. In the past couple of years I have been scrambling to get food ready and entertain guests. This year, in simplifying Thanksgiving I am officially setting time aside to nap, read or do absolutely nothing so that I can enjoy some relaxation.

Guess what? Company would appreciate an invitation to relax as well. Take time to set up some comfortable seating options, complete with blankets and pillows, so that guests naturally feel inclined to close their eyes for just a minute (or 15).

For those having overnight guests, check out options from Zinus to improve your guest bed. They have beautiful frames and headboards that don’t cost a fortune, and their memory foam mattresses are guaranteed to leave your guests feeling refreshed each morning. With Zinus, you may even want to order a new mattress for your own bed!

Tone down the meal

In my daydreams I cook an incredible, elaborate meal that takes hours to prepare, impressing all who partake and casing them to wonder how any other Thanksgiving meal could be better. In reality, I need to get it together quickly and on a budget. Though it may seem daunting to have a frugal and easy Thanksgiving, I’ve found that keeping the meal streamlined is actually not too difficult. Plus, most people care about the food, but it’s the company and conversation that make the most lasting memories.

So, here are some ways to simplify Thanksgiving dinner this year:

  • Plan ahead and prep (make your menu, do the shopping, check your table settings well in advance)
  • Make it potluck (tips on how to host that here)
  • Make most of the meal ahead of time (recipes here)
  • Delegate – if you want to make it all, get help from your family or at least one friend. Extra hands mean more gets accomplished!

Enjoy the celebration

Eating out with friends


It’s true that family gatherings can intensify stress and emotions can run high, but they are also opportunities to bond, reconnect, and enjoy the people in your life.  There’s a good chance things will go offtrack at some point, but by simplifying Thanksgiving it can also wind up feeling totally perfect!