For many of us, 2020 offers us the opportunity to break tradition and make Thanksgiving a less stressful but still special holiday for your family. The central theme of Thanksgiving is, of course, thankfulness. And what do we have to be thankful for? Health, family, safety, food, love, the beautiful weather, our pets and so much more. Start the holiday with verbalizing these things that you are thankful for, and get the whole family to participate.

When faced with cooking a Thanksgiving meal, many of us cringe at the grocery list making, shopping, unloading, days of cooking, cleanup and disposing of leftovers. Here are some trips to make this year easier:

1.) Let the store do your grocery shopping for you. With the eruption of grocery services that offer delivery and store pickup, make your list and let someone else deal with the crowds. Give yourself a break and let someone else do your shopping for you.

2.) Make your menu simpler. You don’t have to make everything. Perhaps this is the year that a rotisserie chicken stands in for the turkey, or premade mashed potatoes make it to the table. If you have a food nemesis that you hate to make, buy it premade. You can also let every family member pick out their favorite thanksgiving food and only make those.

3.) Eat out or take out. As long as you are sharing the meal with loved ones, it doesn’t matter where it’s made or who made it. This means no clean up too!

4.) Laid back entertainment. After the meal, don’t feel like you have to entertain everyone. Turn on football or a favorite movie, take a nap, do a quiet craft or go on a family walk.

5.) Disposable plates and cutlery. If the cleanup is what takes the joy out of the holiday for you, make it simple. You can find all kinds of disposable plates and cutlery that will make your table beautiful and still make cleanup easy.

6.) Skip the tradition! It isn’t about the food, it is about your family. Maybe this year your family goes on a small trip, to somewhere fun within an easy drive, and make an activity the center of your celebration.

7.) And lastly, and always fun, have everyone in your gathering make something. Even small children can decorate store bought cookies or cupcakes, or make a simple appetizer of a spread on a cracker. Having everyone involved makes the preparations as fun as the meal!

No matter what you decide to do, take time to be thankful that you are together, and the rest will take care of itself.