Stress Free Holidays Part 8
Thanksgiving Stress Avoidance - Last Minute Tasks To Do To Have A Fun Thanksgiving Day

There is no reason to experience Thanksgiving stress this year, if you do some simple typically last minute tasks ahead of time.

Week #8 of the Stress Free Holidays Challenge

Can you believe we are already into Week 8 of the Stress Free Holidays series?

Time just seems to be flying by, doesn't it? But of course it always does during the holiday season since we are so busy.

This week we are focusing almost exclusively on Thanksgiving, since it actually happens this week. We'll continue with more Christmas preparations next week, and beyond.

In addition, this week we will briefly focus on "Black Friday" for those of you brave enough to go out shopping the day after Thanksgiving.

Avoid Thanksgiving Stress With These Final Tasks

Thanksgiving dinner
Photo by CarbonNYC

If you've been doing the weekly missions in this series you will feel pretty prepared for Thanksgiving right now, since I have tried to space out some of the big tasks each week.

This does not mean Thanksgiving day won't be busy. It will be busy if you are cooking lots of food and hosting guests. That is unavoidable.

However, busy and stressful are not the same thing. If you have a plan, and then work your plan everything can get done in an enjoyable fashion.

First, get all the stuff out of the way that doesn't have to do with cooking or baking. All this stuff, like cleaning your home, polishing silver, ironing and folding napkins, getting ready for guests, etc., should be done as soon as possible early this week if it isn't all done yet.

I've created a great resource for you when doing a big house cleaning for guests. It's a housekeeping checklist, which lists the tasks you should focus on for hosting guests, even if your house is currently messy. Be sure to check it out to make sure you're prioritizing properly now that time is getting short for the big day.

Next, to avoid Thanksgiving stress later focus on all the food related Thanksgiving preparations that couldn't get done until closer to the actual Thanksgiving day.

For example, now is the time to go to the store for your big shopping trip of perishable groceries that you couldn't buy earlier this month. You can reference your Thanksgiving grocery list you created earlier in the month if you filled it out.

In addition, if you have a frozen turkey make sure you begin defrosting it in plenty of time. This may be today, for example, if you have a big bird and plan to defrost it in the refrigerator.

how to defrost a turkey

Here is a resource on the site to help you know when to begin defrosting your bird, based on its size:

Finally, prepare any foods you can the day or two before Thanksgiving, such as pies, breads, or casseroles. Then, make a plan for how to re-heat or cook any of the food you prepare ahead of time, and also the food that must be cooked the day of Thanksgiving.

free printable Thanksgiving day cooking schedule

To do this decide on the time you will eat Thanksgiving dinner, and then work backwards taking into account cooking times, what will be in the oven when, and at what temperature, and also preparation times for various items. Then, you can follow your plan to know when to start prepping various items, and when to place things in the oven. To help you with this task I've created a printable Thanksgiving day schedule for cooking you can fill out.

Finally, the key to Thanksgiving stress avoidance is accepting help in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day. Even if someone doesn't know how to cook some of the dishes they can help with food preparation, or even just washing dishes. Anything can be helpful and take the burden off you. You don't have to do this alone!

The same goes for the big clean up afterward. You worked hard to cook and prepare for guests. Let them help you clean up afterward, clearing plates, putting away leftovers, washing dishes, etc. These guests are people that love you, and you love them. Love yourself enough to let them help you and Thanksgiving stress will be a thing of the past.

Don't worry if this seems like a lot. I've created a Thanksgiving countdown checklist that you can reference which lists what you should do a week out, three to four days out, two days before, the day before, the day of and for clean up! So if you haven't already grab your copy today and make sure to reference it to help you keep track of all the tasks to be done.

If You've Put Off Planning Your Thanksgiving Meal Here's A Book That Can Help

easy Thanksgiving dinner ideas ebook

Time sometimes slips away from all of us. If this has happened to you and you're starting to feel some Thanksgiving stress don't despair. Here's an ebook that can help you get your meal together fast.

My good friend Crystal, from, has put together this 31 page ebook with a full dinner menu, complete with tasty but still easy recipes, and completely taken the guess work out of this special meal for you.

You get a step-by-step planning guide, make ahead recipes, a menu plus recipes for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner complete with dessert, and a grocery shopping list already put together for you!

What If You're Not Preparing The Meal But Going To Family Instead?

All the stuff above may not apply to you if you're not cooking the Thanksgiving meal yourself, or if the big meal isn't at your home. However, that doesn't mean you're immune from Thanksgiving stress. You just have a different kind of stress -- traveling.

Thanksgiving, and the days leading up to it, are some of the most traveled of the year. Do yourself a favor and give yourself plenty of time to plan everything that you'll need to pack for your family, get all the clothes clean and ready, including nice clothes for the big meal, and everything else that needs to be done to leave town for a couple of days with kids in tow.

Preparations For Black Friday Shopping

If you plan to go out the day after Thanksgiving for some shopping, known as "Black Friday," then you should prepare yourself ahead of time to make it as fun as possible, without stress and hassle.

First of all, know what deals you are looking for and at what stores they are located at. Review the ads and make your plan of priorities. Remember, it isn't a deal if you don't really want or need it.

To help you with this use your printable Christmas gift list that I have created, which helps keep track of both the gifts you want to buy and also your Christmas gift budget at the same time.

Also, eat and drink ahead of time, and get enough rest the night before if you are getting up really early, so you aren't exhausted and feeling bad while doing your shopping. After having a fun Thanksgiving Day you want to avoid day after Thanksgiving stress too!

Tell Me How This Week's Challenge Is Going For You

Stress Free Holidays Week 9

I'd love to hear how this challenge is going for you this week. Are you avoiding Thanksging stress so far? Tell me in the comments, and we can cheer each other on, or help each other overcome obstacles that are causing us holiday stress.

In addition, I thought some of you might want to know briefly what we'll be working on next week, so I'll tell you:

  • Cleaning up after Thanksgiving
  • Create menu and grocery list for Christmas meal, plan Christmas decorations, and begin filling out Christmas cards

Previous Parts Of The Stress Free Holiday Series

If you missed the previous parts of this series, you can still jump in. There is always time to start.

Here are the previous challenges:

If You're Reporting On Your Progress For This Challenge On Your Own Blog Grab This Button!

If you have your own blog, and report on your experience or success with avoid Thanksgiving stress this year or with other tasks this week I would love it if you grabbed my button to place on your posts so everyone can participate!

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Here's the code:

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