Thanksgiving is all about family traditions. With family coming over, you will surely have your hands full throughout the day. But what if you have kids to take care of and chores to do? Can you still manage to fulfill family traditions despite your busy schedule? Here are a few ways on how you can make Thanksgiving dinner easier.

1.       Shop early. Don’t wait till the last minute before you do your grocery shopping because you may end up having Thanksgiving Dinner without any turkey. So before all the Thanksgiving must-haves run out and before the lines become longer, make sure that you already have all the ingredients you need. Double check your list to prevent any last minute trips to the grocery store.

2.       Cook ahead. Who said that turkey can’t be prepared ahead? You really don’t have to wake up so early so that your family will have turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. If you cook it ahead, you will have so much time to do other things because reheating it will only take up so little of your time.  By slaving a day before Thanksgiving, you will have so much time on your hands during the big day. Choose side dishes that can stay well inside the fridge so that you can just serve them during dinner. With a carefully planned out menu, you will have plenty of time to enjoy the company of family plus a lot of extra energy to do other activities during Thanksgiving Day.

3.       Use disposables. It’s surely nice to use your most treasured table wear during Thanksgiving dinner, but when you have to clean every piece of it after all the guests leave, it won’t be as fun anymore. It’s more practical to use disposables because you certainly don’t want to end the day washing dishes. When baking, you can also use disposable roasting pans so that you don’t have to worry about the clean-up afterwards.

4.       Propose a pot luck dinner. As much as we would like to do everything for our loved ones for Thanksgiving, our schedules may only allow us a few hours of preparation. If you can’t allocate a lot of time for cooking, assign items that your guests can bring for dinner. Surely everyone will be more than happy to cook their best recipes for your get together.

5.       Get your kids to help. You need all the help that you can get so let your kids mash the potatoes, or let them set up the decorations. It will even be more enjoyable if everyone can put in some effort for dinner. Stop being a superhero and do yourself a favor by delegating manageable tasks to other family members.

6.       Buy pre-cooked food. If you really can’t cook traditional recipes, don’t let it stop you from coming up with your unique version of Thanksgiving dinner. Don’t be afraid if your menu is not cut out for Thanksgiving because in the end, it’s all about the company. While we would love to make everything from scratch, there are just times when our schedules won’t allow us. So don’t feel bad about ordered meals because what’s more important is the fact that you get to share this special day with loved ones.

The decision as to how you would like your Thanksgiving dinner to unfold is still ultimately up to you. If you want to bring out your best china and do everything from scratch, go ahead. But if you feel like doing it differently this year, don’t be afraid to try. After all the preparation, one thing that families must never miss out on having is an overall feeling of gratitude for blessings received, and for the love and togetherness that families bring. How do you make things easier for Thanksgiving?