Thanksgiving is a time for family togetherness. Of course, sometimes too much togetherness breeds tension, stress, arguments, and the occasional blowup. Whether you’re hosting the dinner or just visiting, remember these tips for staying calm and sane:

 

  • Plan early. Start thinking about Thanksgiving well before the big day so you don’t have to rush to get everything done at the last minute. Check in with guests, or your host, a few days ahead of time to confirm everyone’s plans.

 

  • Get people involved. Don’t try to do all the work yourself. Invite guests to bring dishes (if you’re a guest, volunteer). Recruit your kids to set the table and clear away the dishes. A team effort will make the day more fun for everyone.

 

  • Mix up the guest list. Most families behave a little better if outsiders are present. Include a few neighbors or friends; ask if you can bring a co-worker. A “buffer” will encourage people to be on their best behavior.

 

  • Get out of the house. No rule says you have to hold Thanksgiving at someone’s house. A public setting like a restaurant or hotel can defuse tensions and take the load off. If you are at home, encourage guests to take walks or play outside while waiting for dinner to start.

 

  • Take time to relax. Don’t overschedule yourself. Build some extra time into your day so you can talk to family and friends, enjoy your meal, and genuinely give thanks for being together.
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