Thanksgiving Countdown (Not your Mom’s Thanksgiving!)

It’s November; the Pandemic was supposed to be over by now, before the holidays.  You had plans for Thanksgiving, the same plans you have every year.  Maybe, you always go to Aunt Susan’s house. Perhaps Mom or Grandma visits and does all the cooking. Or, your family tradition is a dinner, with all the courses, at your favorite restaurant.  Thanksgiving has always been about food, family, friends, and football!

Well, the Pandemic is not over, and the world is not back to normal.  Let’s just acknowledge that this Thanksgiving won’t be normal.  It won’t – nothing is normal.  Pretending things are normal is only setting you up for a whole lot of stress and disappointment.   Oh, it can still be about food and, hopefully, football but not so much family and friends. This year, Thanksgiving dinner is, most likely, going to be shared by those in your bubble. This leads to the most crucial question… Who’s cooking???? 

This year, it’s up to YOU.  Yes, YOU.  Wait!  Stop!  BREATHE!!!   I know, your stress-o-meter just spike all new numbers at the mere thought of COOKING, a what?, a THANKSGIVING DINNER!  It’s not that bad, I promise you.  I’m here to manage the stress, make it as easy and painless as possible. We are two weeks out, and with some easy planning, you and your bubble can make a special Thanksgiving memory.

Cooking a holiday dinner doesn’t have to cause stress!  My experience is that stress results from a lack of planning and organization – not the cause of it!  Some focused thinking, a couple of decisions, and you are on your way.  To make things super easy, I’ll be your kitchen GPS. Before we can start, however, you need to know where you’re going!  This means deciding on a menu.  So let’s chat about options.

A traditional Thanksgiving dinner is built around the turkey.  Accompanying the turkey is a wide variety of side dishes.  The framework is usually potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, family favorite side dishes, and pie. (Yay pie!)  Within that framework, there are several options, and each option has several variations and preparation choices. 

To help you select a menu that’s right for your bubble while keeping your stress at a manageable level, I have broken down Thanksgiving’s most common menu items. There is an overview and a breakdown of the advantages and downsides of each selection.   I also assigned a stress rating (1 – 10, next to no stress – anxiety off the charts) and an Impressiveness rating (1 -10, not impressive at all to WOW).  This allows you to customize your Thanksgiving to a memorable meal that YOU will enjoy preparing and eating!

My recommendation is to give the following section (s) a quick read to get your head in the groove and formulate your thoughts.  Then go back and make your decisions.  To make it easier, there is a worksheet that will help guide you to a perfect dinner.

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