Tips & Activities to Help You Survive Thanksgiving 2008 with Your Family

Filed in Gather Family Essential by on November 18, 2008 0 Comments

Thanksgiving 2008 is just around the corner and holidays, as we all know, can be stressful. With each year I learn something new about creating a great Thanksgiving for my family and so I thought I would share my top tips on how to survive your family this Thanksgiving and a few of my favorite Thanksgiving activities:

1. Make Your Thanksgiving Potluck: If you take the time to plan ahead you will save yourself so much angst that comes with playing the martyr-chef. I make a list of all the dishes we need to feed everyone and come mid-November I divvy them out to people so I am not responsible for everything. 3 people get assigned dessert, 3 the booze, 2 to salad, 3 on sides and so on. That leaves me responsible for cooking the 2 birds and the stuffingÂ…and a few of my signature extras.


Bottom line, when someone says “what can I bring?,” SAY SOMETHING!

2. Plan Activities: I hate it when everyone arrives from out-of-town and looks at you with this “entertain us” stare. Left to their own devices, my family lounges around the house looking bored, watching TV, and taking up the much needed space.


I have become over the years a seasoned concierge. I do a bit of research, make a list of activity choices for the different age groups, and let people take their pick. Some Boston favorites have included:

Gobble Gobble Gobble 4 Mile Road Race (Somerville, MA): This race is at 9am Thanksgiving morning and I send a bunch of folks off to run it. At the end you get a free pint at the local pub. It is a really fun race and everyone feels amazing after. People also dress up as turkeys and pilgrims and win prizes for their costumes — hysterical.


Black Friday Shopping Trip: My family typically fans out to a few different spots: Newbury Street, Prudential/Copley, even Harvard Square for the snooty Harvard alums (not me).


Movie Night: The Friday night after Thanksgiving we typically eat leftovers and either head out to a movie or watch a DVD. I stock up on a bunch of films ahead of time for those of us that elect to stay home and the little ones.

And I have a list of new releases and showtimes ready for those going out. Some of the flicks IÂ’ll be suggesting this year are:


Four Christmases

Rachel Getting Married

Quantum of Solace


A Christmas Tale


3. Take A Walk With Someone You Love: For me, physical activity is my best de-stresser so it is really important that I find a way to exercise even when entertaining. When family is in town, I walk. Typically 1-2 people will join me at 7am each morning for an hour walk. These walks are honestly some of my recent family favorite memories. It is when I have the best conversations with my siblings, in-laws etc.


4. Find a Family Game: There are times when I look around the room and everyone is on a different device (cell, TV, computer, gameboy, Wii and so on). It took me a few years, but I now have EVERYONE participating in a family game the night of Thanksgiving. We play Celebrity. People now get really into it.


5. DonÂ’t Cook Every Meal: I have completely gotten over my obsession with cooking for everybody at every meal and have now added in a few outside meal solutions to make the cooking/cleaning piece easier. Our NYC family now brings up tons of bagels when they come so every morning we just do a serve yourself bagel breakfast. We have also added in one night of pizza delivery which all the kids LOVE. I typically make a salad to go along with the pizza which no one (except my skinny bitch sister-in-law) ever touches.


Those are my top tips to a fun and peaceful Thanksgiving with my family. Good luck with your family this year and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


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