6 Ways To Simplify Thanksgiving

6 ways to simplify Thanksgiving this year. Enjoy your holiday. Have a beautiful home without all the stress!It’s funny how the holiday season always seems to sneak up on the majority of the world. 

Christmas is always the 25th of December, and Thanksgiving is always the fourth Thursday in November. Sounds simple enough, but somehow the looming holidays can be quite overwhelming. All the events, food, cooking, decorating, shopping for gifts, and getting everything wrapped can seem like a monumental, expensive feat.

Let’s start with Thanksgiving.

Whether you have been planning for months, or if Thanksgiving is next week, and you are just getting a plan together, here are some tips for simplifying this well-loved, family holiday.

1. Keep the menu simple.

I know it is tempting to have EVERY SINGLE DISH that can possibly be associated with Thanksgiving dinner, but can you really even enjoy turkey, 10 different side dishes, AND 4-5 types of dessert?? No one I know can fully appreciate that much food , and trust me- we have some very hearty eaters in our family! Make ahead dishes are always a wonderful addition. My lacto-fermented cranberry apple relish is one of my favorite make ahead dishes for both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners!

2. Use only fresh, in-season food.

This will help simplify your menu, and incidentally, keep it on a more healthy track! This holiday is one of the few that makes this easy.

Cranberries, apples, pumpkins, winter squash, potatoes, nuts, turkey, corn, and salad greens are all seasonally appropriate foods, which makes them freshly available. Why grab a can of pumpkin when you have 10 perfect pie pumpkins decorating your porch and living room?

3. Keep the invite list small.

Did you know that the best dinner parties are made up of no more than 8-10 adults? So, if you are doing a family dinner, set some boundaries on the invite list. Your second cousin twice removed doesn’t HAVE to be invited!

Maybe invite immediate family only, or stick with only one side of the family. We love our tradition of celebrating with my side of the family one year, and my husband’s side the next year.

4. Have each guest bring a specific dish.

Just because you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner, doesn’t mean you have to buy and prepare every part of it. I’m not talking about a free-for-all potluck here, but a specifically assigned dish for each guest/family to bring.

For example-Have your sister bring the salad and sweet potatoes, and your mom bring the stuffing and the rolls. Then you can focus on the rest!

5. Do away with those themed dishes and decorations.

You don’t need dishes that have turkeys and pilgrims on them to serve Thanksgiving dinner. It’s just one more thing to buy and store that will only be used once or twice a year. Stick with tasteful fall decorations, and just use your regular dishes!

6 Ways To Simplify Thanksgiving | areturntosimplicity.com

6. Please, please stay at home, or wherever you are celebrating Thanksgiving Day!

Rushing out the door on Thursday evening to go Black Friday shopping is a sure way to add extra stress to the day. Personally, I avoid Black Friday like the plague, and instead, choose Small Business Saturday to do any shopping I may need. If you DO choose to participate in Black Friday, at least wait until Friday to begin. 🙂




So, take a step back, and see what steps you can make to make this Thanksgiving more simple and stress free! 

6 ways to simplify Thanksgiving this year. Enjoy your holiday. Have a beautiful home without all the stress!



Want more tips for simplifying the Holidays? Here are my top 6 Ways to Simplify Christmas!

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8 responses to “6 Ways To Simplify Thanksgiving”

  1. My best Thanksgiving ally: Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy. It was a recipe I found in a Woman’s Day magazine at least 15-20 years ago. You roast turkey wings with vegetables, then cook them down in a pot with broth and herbs, later separating out the fat and thickening with flour. I make it several days beforehand, and everyone loves it!

  2. I plan to do all these things and enjoy a nice, easy Thanksgiving with my family. Pinning!

  3. This is such good advice, sometimes we seem to want to do so much that by the time Christmas gets here we are worn out. I am just about to start my Christmas baking and then I will freeze it, our Christmas meals are simple with salads and meats (hot Christmas in Australia). Thank you for the reminder to take time and enjoy the season and not to let it rule us. Thanks for linking up at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

  4. I loved #6! I totally broke #3. We have anywhere from 20-40 people at our home for Thanksgiving each year. This year was the big year and we had 40. But….I don’t feel a need to entertain people or manage everything. We cook the main stuff and ask others to bring whatever makes it a celebration for their family. In addition to our family we had my parents in law, my brother in law and his family, our oldest son and his family, a new pastor in town and his family, and some friends from Kenya and a friend from Japan. It was really a wonderful day, but part of that was that there was no expectations. We ate, played games and hung out. Thanks for sharing with us at Simple Lives Thursday; hope to see you again this week.

  5. These are all great tips! I love the staying home the most!! I love being with my family and staying cozy in my own house with all that yummy food too!

  6. I have always loved the tip of having other people help bring sides, desserts, etc for the meal. That way the entire meal doesn’t fall on just one person. It is hard to enjoy the holidays if you are overwhelmed and doing everything by yourself. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Angi says:

      Me too Mindy! Plus, it always gives me new ideas for different ways to make things. My SIL brines her turkey, and I would never have tried that if I hadn’t tasted her amazing turkey. Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!

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