Here's my Thanksgiving crowd: in-laws, grandparents, cousins, my kids, my best friend and her new baby plus the babysitter and her friend from Germany. Whew. Holiday gatherings can bring together a diverse mix of people. But I'm determined not to let everyone's differences be a recipe for disaster. Here are tips to have a great family gathering anytime, but especially this Thanksgiving.
Set boundaries. It's important to know what topics of discussion are okay, and which are off the table for the day. For example, my parents are Republicans and my in-laws are very liberal. So no FoxNews, CNN or any political talks. Be sure your get-together boundaries are not too rigid, but also not too weak. If there is one child who climbs on tables, for example, let his mommy know well before your dinner that you want to keep all the kids safe this year, and that means staying off the furniture.
Let go. Your own expectations or other's expectations can create a lot of stress on the holidays. Know that you don't have to cook like Rachel Ray. Your house really doesn't need to be spotless. I know I'm trying to get it into my head that the kids will be excited and not let them get on my nerves too badly this Thursday.
Get some air. Whenever a lot of people get together, it's inevitable to feel stressed out. Get outside and go for a walk. Even if it's just for a few minutes, extra oxygen can increase blood flow and decrease anxiety.
Ask for help. Don't try to do all the cooking, cleaning and childcare yourself. Give other people tasks. If you're going somewhere, take on a few responsibilities. This also keeps everyone busy and out of talks about politics and religion,
See as kids see. The festivities are new and exciting to the kids. Take some time to tell the same old stories, make crafts and draw pictures.
Do you have any tips to ensure a happy and fun Thanksgiving?