Naturally Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for all that we have; our families, friends, hopefully our health and general happiness. But it can also be a slightly stressful time, whether you’re traveling across the country to visit family, hosting a big dinner, or welcoming grown children back into your home. Take advantage of these simple Thanksgiving tips to help make your day even more about giving thanks.

Set a schedule. Nothing goes according to plan if you don’t have a plan.  If you are hosting Thanksgiving, make sure you nail down your cooking schedule, especially if any guests have specific dietary concerns that require extra attention. From prep time to getting everything in the oven, it often ends up taking longer than you think for big meals like these.  I also like to make sure I schedule in some downtime for a walk or mental release once everything is done.

Make a budget. Dinner for 14 people can really add up. Make sure to manage the cost by making up a menu and estimating the cost for each item. Consider asking family members to pitch in and go buffet or potluck style. I use my PC Financial World Elite Mastercard all year to earn and save loads of PC points that I can then redeem for terrific savings on my Thanksgiving dinner, right at the cash register.

Be realistic. Family obligations can be tough and juggling visits over one weekend can be exhausting and frustrating. Think about spreading your Thanksgiving visits and dinners beyond that one long weekend so you can take the time to really enjoy family members and spend quality time with them. Take turns with in-laws where you can.

Be truthful. Don’t take on more than you can handle just to keep the peace. Let your parents know if there isn’t room for them to stay, have the kids pitch in and help. Let people know if you need to have some personal time and escape for a walk or a run, or a drink with a friend.

Be safe. Sometimes the dinner can go on late and it can be hard to escape and start that long drive home. Manage expectations beforehand and stick to your own personal limits. Driving while tired, or after finishing the last bite of that melatonin-filled turkey can be dangerous.

Share the load. Besides asking guests to bring food or wine contributions, assign family members for setup and cleanup duties. The first time you do it you might get some resistance, but build it into your Thanksgiving routine early. Routines become traditions pretty quickly.

Above all, remember that the main reason you’re getting together at Thanksgiving is to be thankful for each other. If the turkey is a bit dry and the kids are kicking each other under the table, take a sip of your coffee or your dessert wine and be thankful it’s all over…until December.

This post was sponsored by PC Financial, but as always, opinions are my own.

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