If you’ve seen the movie, “What’s Cooking,” you know Thanksgiving’s not perfect. Despite best efforts to enjoy the big meal, reality falls short of expectations.  How can you avoid the pitfalls featured in “What’s Cooking” or challenges that you might have experienced firsthand?  That can be a tall order.  The following are Good Celebrations suggestions.  (Good Celebrations does not take responsibility for the implementation of these ideas.)

1.  Keep expectations low.  There’s no place to go but up.

2.  Participate.  If you’re visiting, offer to bring food, help serve and clean up.  If you’re hosting, delegate.  If you’re hosting and you like having others join you in the kitchen to help prepare the meal, delegate dishes to each participant.  Be sure guests agree before Thanksgiving.  Eat.

3.  Note food preferences.  Some may be vegan, lactose intolerant, or have nut allergies.  Some like to play with their food.

4.  If you’re hosting, know your audience.  Are place cards a good idea?  Will some want TV access to watch football?  Would they enjoy wearing funny hats?  If children are in the mix what kinds of activities do they like?   Would all be willing to try an icebreaker such as Charades, Karaoke, or Pictionary?  If weather permits, would some like to walk, run, or play touch football before the meal?

5.  Improve Thanksgiving for others.  Volunteer to serve at a community Thanksgiving for people who have no other place to go.  Volunteer or purchase your pie from Community Servings: http://www.pieinthesky.org/events/pies/    or other similar organization.  Volunteer to make food baskets at a local nonprofit that distributes baskets to those who cannot afford Thanksgiving dinner.

6.  Be grateful.  What do you appreciate?

7.  What can you learn from each person at the table?

8.  Mix it up.  Begin a new tradition.  Invite loved ones to Thanksgiving Dinner at a new destination.  Explore travel packages during Thanksgiving weekend in the USA and abroad.

9.  Invite local students, neighbors, or colleagues who are alone on Thanksgiving.

10.  If despite these suggestions, your Thanksgiving is guaranteed to be ruined, host a Faux Thanksgiving with different people, food, and entertainment.  Or forgetaboutit!

‘Hoping your Thanksgiving isn’t ruined.

Life is short.  Celebrate!