Surprisingly Simple Ways to Stay Sane This Thanksgiving

Chaotic Thanksgiving dinner with food flying in the air

Keep calm and save money this holiday

The kids are off from school, your in-laws are in town, and you have less than 5 days to get ready for a Thanksgiving dinner. It’s the joys of the holiday season! Whether you’re still discussing holiday travel plans, already picked out the biggest turkey you can find, or just finalizing the grocery list, it is likely that you find yourself a little overwhelmed and wondering how you’re going to pay for everything this Thursday. We’re here to help keep you both calm and within your budget! We have tips on food, family, and Black Friday sales.

Picking out the turkey

We’re gonna say it: you don’t need to buy the biggest turkey. Remember that the turkey will need to still fit into the oven. A general rule is you should buy 1 lbs. – 1.5 lbs. of turkey per each person that you expect to show up. If you are planning on stocking the dinner table full of sides, then you can probably stay at the lower end of that range. There’s no need to get a bigger bird than the family will eat. This can help you save money. Rest assured that people will understand if you don’t have enough turkey for thirds. If you do end up with too much turkey, you can always use it for leftovers or even freeze it for next month.

If you haven’t bought a turkey yet, now is the time! You can probably find the best prices this week. You could buy a frozen turkey today and have it thaw by Thanksgiving, or you could buy a fresh turkey tomorrow and it will still be good for Thursday. Remember that thaw time for a turkey is much more than most foods. Have the turkey thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours for every 5 lbs. So, if your bird is 15lbs., it will take 3 days (72 hours) to thaw. If you don’t know how to cook turkey – don’t fret! A ruined turkey is wasted time and money, so we have included several delicious turkey recipes that are easy for anyone to make:

Alternatively, you could just forgo the turkey all together and serve chicken instead. Two chickens may cost less than a giant turkey, be easier to cook, and even taste better. If you do plan to have guests over, let them know ahead of time that you won’t be serving turkey this year. 

Setting the rest of the table

Do your family members or guests have a recipe they constantly boast about? A potluck may be the perfect idea! You could cut costs and offer the best food if everyone chips in a little to a potluck. Have your guests bring their best dish, but make sure to coordinate it so that people aren’t bringing in the same items. Three guests could bring sides, and two more could bring dessert. All you would have to do is provide the main course, drinks, and a home to host the dinner at. Ultimately, it could help you save a lot of money!

If you do decide to prepare the whole meal yourself, or are bringing something over to another person’s house, don’t be afraid of cooking with canned items. There’s a whole debate over canned cranberry sauce, with most people agreeing that fresh cranberry sauce is better. We both know that home-made cranberry sauce is much more expensive and time consuming than just serving it from a can. If you know you’ll have one guest over that will throw a fit if they think anything came from a can, we have a secret for you: Yahoo has a great recipe to jazz up the canned cranberry sauce and fool even the biggest skeptic.

Not sure what to serve for sides? We have some great recipes for you! Just click on what you need.
Classic Turkey Gravy Recipe ∙ Best Stuffing Recipe ∙ Easy Sweet Potato Recipe ∙ Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie Recipe ∙ Easy Green Bean Casserole Recipe ∙ Great Pecan Pie Recipe ∙ Perfect Instant Mashed Potatoes ∙ 100 More Recipe Ideas

If you have kids, or you know that there will be kids over, have them help set the table. It’s one less thing for you to have to do, and will keep them out of the kitchen while you cook the last few items. Wiki How has multiple ways to fold a napkin. Make sure the kids wash their hands first, and them have them set the table however they see fit. Let them get creative. Another adult should probably keep an eye on them, but it will help tide the kids over while everyone waits for dinner to be ready!

Dealing with difficult relatives

Some people really love hanging out with their family, and some people really wonder how they’re related to the rest of the people at the table. It may be the in-laws making a fuss, an overly nosy aunt, or even an opinionated uncle. The point is, there will likely be people there that you’re not necessarily thankful to have at the table. Of course, you don’t want to be rude, and you just want to be able to make it through this one dinner. Here’s how you can deal with your difficult relatives that show up.

Don’t go heavy on the drinks. The last thing you want to do is embarrass yourself or end up loosing your filter and saying the wrong thing in front of the group. This may only increase the issue at future family dinners. Staying away from drinks also allows you to be sober enough to drive away from dinner at any time. If you’re the one visiting, you could always make the excuse that you need to be up extra early the next day for work, or need to pick up a friend from the airport. If you’re the one hosting, you can always run out to the store for any last-minute items.

Find excuses to sit on the side-lines. Consider hanging out with the group watching football. Offer to be the photographer, which will allow you to get out of conversations, leave a room entirely, or even just give you an excuse to sit in the corner and pretend to work on “fixing” your camera. Hang out with the kids. It’s okay to offer to be the one to play tag or hide and seek in the backyard. Their parents will likely thank you for getting them out of the kitchen. Even better is if you have a conversation with a quiet or shy nephew that maybe needs someone to hang out with. This can help save you both from the rest of the family if they see that you’re acting social together.

Deflect any and all conversation. Jokes work wonders, “Am I dating? Haha! No, I haven’t met anyone that measures up to (other relative)’s expectations, yet”. Redirect the conversation, “Oh, I don’t pay enough attention to politics to have an opinion on that topic. But I do have an opinion on this turkey! It’s absolutely delicious,” then turn to ask the cook if they have the recipe. People love talking about themselves. It may be a good idea to look at Facebook pages to see what the others have been up to recently. Be prepared to keep your answers brief and follow up with a question that requires a whole story, “Everything’s going well. Busy as always. Hey, I saw your pictures from the pumpkin patch the other day on Facebook. I bet that was fun. Tell me all about that!”

If you want more information, Lifestyle has 10 more tips for making it through Thanksgiving family gatherings, and A Sweat Life has tips on how to redirect awkward table talk.

Surviving the sales

For many people, black Friday starts a few hours after Thanksgiving. Many people are prepared to head out to the warzone of Black Friday sales, where they’ll brave crowds with hundreds of aggressive shoppers. Fortunately, we have a TikTok with tips to gear up for Black Friday this year!

Hopefully our guide will help you stay calm and within your budget this Thanksgiving! Of course, if you find that you need a little extra cash for Thanksgiving dinner or even Black Friday sales, you could always get a small short-term personal loan with Net Pay Advance. You can always pay it off at your next paycheck.

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