Are you hosting this year? Is it your first year or your 30th year hosting? Are you comfortable with people standing around your kitchen while you cook? Or do you prefer that they go play tag football at the local park? Are you comfortable assigning tasks to those hanging about in your kitchen? Or would you prefer to do it all yourself? Do you fly by the seat of your pants or do you have a precise schedule of what goes in the oven and when taped to your cabinet? However you answer these questions, it’s the right answer. No matter how you slice it, hosting Thanksgiving dinner is stressful. So remember that you are allowed to kick your guests out of your kitchen, politely of course, if that’s how you prefer to get it on the table. It’s okay to put Aunt Joan to work making the salad (don’t use romaine this year) and Uncle Ricky to work grating cheese and cousin Sheila to work putting the finishing touches on the table.
Just remember, whatever works for you is right. Nobody gets to decide how you put dinner on the table except you.
And, if you already have solid traditions where everyone knows their role, don’t forget about newcomers to your table: fiancé’s, girlfriends or boyfriends, college roommates, new neighbors … help them feel included too. Create a role for them, or have them share a task with someone. Don’t park them in the corner to be held captive by grandpa’s stories from 50 years ago that everyone else has heard 100 times. Remember Thanksgiving can be difficult without family around and the fact that they are sharing yours is truly special.