With 2020 throwing all sorts of curve balls our way, the holiday season is officially turned on its head.
We want to give our kids all the same holiday spirit and joy as years past. And I know there are a lot of families stressed about how different things look this year.
Mama, don’t worry about this year missing the mark. Trust me when I say, there is beauty in the simple. Especially the simple holiday.
This is exactly why this year I’m going to relax, focus on the few main traditions we know and love, and let the rest slide!
How to Simplify Thanksgiving Dinner
And the whole day too!
Here are some simple steps we take each year to simplify our Thanksgiving celebration! I’m excited to share recipes we love, meal hacks we use, as well as simple ways we keep the kids energy contained during the holiday.
Make A Plan
At least one week before, plan out the Thanksgiving menu. I’ve tried to hodgepodge this feast in the past, and it ended in chaos. Learn from my mistakes and write it out!
GOING SIMPLE TIP :: Create a reoccurring calendar event for November 15th named “Plan Thanksgiving Menu” in your Google Calendar. So each year, you remember to plan ahead!
Organize your list by courses: main, sides, desserts, appetizers, beverages, breakfast and lunch. Then pin each recipe to the top of your Pinterest board to easily find it on the big day.
Pick Your *From Scratch* Essentials
Three years ago, we moved away from family and started the tradition of our very own cozy, at home Thanksgiving dinner. At first we were super sad to miss normal traditions.
GOING SIMPLE TIP :: Make food you love! Don’t like Turkey? Don’t make it!
Additional perk of Thanksgiving at home, we are in charge of the menu! Last year we opted for a smoked ham. This year, we are going with baby back ribs. Yum!
Admit We Can’t Do It All
There will be seasons in life when we can make the entire menu from scratch. But mama, this ain’t it. With littles at home, we have to choose to build time in our holiday to spend with our kids, cozy up, and relax together.
GOING SIMPLE TIP :: Let store bought do the work for you. Choose homemade for your favorite dishes, and buy ready-made kits for the rest.
How does this work? We pick a few main dishes to prep together from scratch. We keep the menu simple. And we let store bought sides fill in the blanks.
Utilize Free Services
After my menu is planned, I plug all my needed ingredients into my shopping cart, reserve a time for pickup and let the store do all the work for me.
GOING SIMPLE TIP :: Toss some empty laundry baskets in your trunk to catch all the bags. This means two trips to unload instead of ten!
Walmart Grocery Pickup is seriously a life-changer! You order fresh groceries online from the comfort of your home, Walmart does the shopping and loads your car for FREE. How easy is that? Here’s $10 to try it. You can thank me later.
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Slow And Steady Wins The Race
Don’t pack too much into Thanksgiving Day! No one wants to spend the holiday on your feet in the kitchen, prepping, cooking, and cleaning dishes. These days are meant for family. So keep your priorities in check.
GOING SIMPLE TIP :: Prep recipes the days before and refrigerate. Simply toss them in the oven on the big day for fresh baked goodness!
Instead, make baked goods in advance! We bake our desserts the day before. Choosing to prep these in advance means I can bring the girls in for some hands on activity time, stress free.
To find our family favorite Pecan Pie recipe, click here!
Give The Kids Something To Do
Every holiday it seems our kids get extra ants in their pants! I don’t blame them, holidays are exciting! So now I prep in advance for that extra energy. This year I grabbed this printable pack from Simply September Blog and stapled them together to make little work books.
This leaves the kids busy all day long, and it feels important to them because it’s made for Thanksgiving Day!
I hope you found these tips super helpful for the big day! Thanksgiving has always been a family favorite for us. And it’s become an even more special holiday since we have chosen to slow it down and stay at home.
This year may feel challenging with all the extra hurdles we have to jump through, but these tips will help you stay safe, healthy, and having a happy holiday with the people you love!