Tips For A Stress-Free Thanksgiving

When November rolls around, it can be all too easy to let the stress of Thanksgiving kick in.

It was a big event, close to our hearts and with a lot of expectations attached to it. So, how do we enjoy a stress-free Thanksgiving?

How do we enjoy the joy of celebrating with our family and friends without letting the anxiety of Thanksgiving overwhelm us?

Join us as we explore tips for a stress-free Thanksgiving and share tips on how to best plan Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Stress: Focus on What’s Important

Before you start crafting an epic shopping list or start texting guests about times and details, pause and focus on what’s important.

This one simple act is perhaps the most important to achieving a stress-free Thanksgiving.

Ask yourself this question and write the answer in your journal or on your phone.

‘What three things mean the most to me about Thanksgiving?’

This can be a great way to approach any stressful life event. For example, if you ask the same question about your wedding, it can help you focus on the parts that really matter. You could say that for your wedding, the three most important things are inviting a large guest list, having live music, and having lots of prom. That will affect how you plan your big day. you want make sure you’re married somewhere set up for a live band, somewhere big enough to host your whole community, and you schedule the time of day to make sure you get a few hours on the floor leap.

Set priorities and make the right decisions

Doing the same thing for Thanksgiving will help you prioritize and make decisions. Is the most important thing to be able to invite your whole family, friends and neighbors? Well, maybe scale back the eating plan and cook a simple dish instead. Or do you prefer to mark anniversaries with delicious food? If so, perhaps keep your guest list small and intimate and plan a hearty three-course meal.

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Focusing on some of the things that really matter to you about Thanksgiving can really help relieve your holiday stress.

Thanksgiving Stress: Get Organized

Whether you’re a chronic planner or love to dance in your pants, Thanksgiving is the time to celebrate.

In the weeks leading up to the event, make sure you tick the boxes below and you’ll arrive at your vacation feeling much more peaceful.

Pin number: Check with all your invited guests to complete the numbers. Some may have realized that they have double-booked, others may have added an extra point for you. Signing up with them now can pre-empt any stressful last-minute changes.

Plan the menu and write an exhaustive list: Plan your menu and then write a shopping list that covers every situation. Having extra snacks and a wide selection of drinks takes the pressure off if food takes longer than expected.

Book an online store: or book an online grocery store to arrive the day before, or schedule a store visit in your journal.

An opportunity to practice gratitude

The origin of Thanksgiving day is rooted in gratitude and celebration of the blessing of a bountiful harvest. The holiday also marks the coming together of two groups of people, both of whom are important players in American history.

As Christians, the celebration of Thanksgiving now offers a great opportunity to practice gratitude.

Psalm 69:30 says, “I will glorify the name of God with song, and glorify him with thanksgiving.”

There are many other words of encouragement to be grateful that are also found in the Bible. In Colossians 3, Paul reminds us to be grateful. Throughout the Psalms, David never ceases to thank God. One example is in Psalm 9, David sings thanks to God with all his heart and recounts His wondrous deeds.

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So while Thanksgiving is rooted in American history, we can also make it a celebration we’re rooted in our faith.

Thanksgiving Tensions: Trade Tensions for Peace

Your commitment to gratitude over Thanksgiving can go beyond a simple thank you when you sit down to dinner.

Practice gratitude in every moment of your holiday preparation and experience the amazingly stressful exchange for peace to happen.

When we express our thanks to God, we actively shift our perspective away from our difficulties and back into our blessings.

Colossians reminds us to ‘focus on the things above’. This simple guide guides us to live with a heavenly perspective. To not be weighed down by the things we face on earth but to invite the goodness of heaven into our lives today.

Line up a gratitude exercise

Why not try a new gratitude exercise this Thanksgiving? A new approach to giving thanks can spark new thoughts and leave you and your guests feeling elated and encouraged.

Here are two ideas to include in your Thanksgiving this year:

gratitude jar

Place a large glass jar in the center of your table. Add a pencil and some strips of paper to each spot and encourage your guests to write down the things they are grateful for and add them to the jar. Continue until the end of the meal and take a moment to appreciate the sheer number of blessings.

Question about gratitude

Prepare three gratitude prompts or questions and ask one question with each course. They could be ‘name five people you are grateful for’ or ‘what makes you happy that you’ve been through this year?’.

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Using these questions will help your guests find more and more things they are grateful for. As they do, the joy of focusing on all the good God has done for them fills them.

The combination of staying organized and directing your heart to gratitude can help you have a Thanksgiving filled with joy instead of stress.

If you are struggling to be stress free and calm during the day, then pray this simple prayer.


Thank you for the blessings of friends, family and food to celebrate.

I ask that you be with me today as I take care of guests and prepare meals.

Help me stay present and focused on the people at my desk.

Help me make people feel warm, welcome and at home.

I ask you to create an atmosphere of joy and gratitude as we eat together.

As we eat, share and talk, let us feel your presence and kindness.


Timothy Eberly’s photo

Tim Mossholder’s photo

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