15+ Ways To Survive Thanksgiving Dinner

Crazy relatives, opposing views, questions about settling down—family dinners can seriously suck.

But while we can't live with them, we can't live without them, either. So, we're often stuck going to or hosting family get-togethers, and Thanksgiving is probably one of the biggest dinners of all.

Luckily, we've got some tips on how to save yourself from going insane this holiday season. Just buckle up!

If you're hosting, don't do it alone!

Pixabay | Element5Digital

Find yourself some helpers who feel the same way about the holiday as you do. This way you have some people to rely on and vent to when you need it.

Create a buffer.

Unsplash | Drew Farwell

Worried about conversations getting out of hand? Invite some people who will act as buffers. Most people don't want to get into heated discussions around people they don't know! Have some people on your side to keep things cool.

Give guests assignments.

Unsplash | Marten Bjork

Don't just wait for your mother-in-law to decide she's bringing a pumpkin pie when you've already decided on apple. Give people assignments so they know what to bring or what to do beforehand. It'll save you a headache later.

Make a menu and ask people to help.

Unsplash | Stella de Smit

Just like giving assignments, setting a menu can be helpful! It'll keep you and everyone else on track when you know exactly what you're planning. You can even send it out ahead of time so everyone knows.

Skip the alcohol if you're worried about how people will act.

Unsplash | Whitney Wright

There is no rule that says you need to have alcohol at every get-together. Instead, try making a signature mocktail or offering a variety of sodas and juices.

Worried that two incompatible people will sit next to each other?

My Juice Cup

Have the kids create adorable place cards and set them at the table. You can be strategic with who is sitting next to who.

Guide the conversation how you want it.

It might be easier said than done, but if you know there are some taboo topics in your group, try and steer the conversation far, far away.

Need some ideas?!

Unsplash | Allen Taylor

Ask about what kids or grandkids are up to! Everyone seems to love to talk about the great things their spawn are up to.

If that fails, try talking about the food.

You can ask for recipes, talk about the process, or thank people for their contributions. Anything to get the conversation going where it should.

Make sure the kids have something to do.

Imgur | hunchpunch

Whether that's writing a joke in an annual Thanksgiving card or helping decorate the house beforehand, it'll help keep them focused during the main event.

NEVER, and I mean NEVER, throw out the leftovers.

Reddit | javaski

Leftovers are arguably the best part of any Thanksgiving meal. And if you don't need them, there's probably a broke student in your family who will be excited to make Thanksgiving burritos for days after the party.

And if burritos aren't your thing, there's tons of options.

Reddit | RussianChops

Even though I'm no longer a broke student, I always end up with leftovers from any turkey meal. These sandwich ideas sound absolutely amazing!

Spending Thanksgiving alone? Get a meal for one.

Imgur | afearlesstheshold

Whether it's a loved one sending you leftovers or you ordering in, make sure you celebrate for yourself. Treat yourself to a nice meal if you're not much of a turkey fan!

And if you like to cook, you might as well make a meal for one!

Reddit | so_last_summer

I mean, just think of all the leftovers you'll get to keep ALL FOR YOURSELF. That alone is enough of a reason for me to cook a turkey.

Worried about overeating?

Try wearing tight clothes like a dress or pants with a belt. It'll help stop you from getting uncomfortably full. I wish I'd remember to do this once in a while!

Or, on the flip side, wear loose clothing.

Maybe instead of trying to consume less, you're read to stuff your face silly. Just don't forget to wear loose clothes if that's the case.

Respond to criticism with grace and class.

It's unlikely you'll be able to avoid rude comments or criticism completely. I mean, who wants to be asked for the 50th time when you're going to "settle down?"

Curate a bopping playlist.

Unsplash | rawpixel

Music is always a mood booster, and if there's any way to make your peeps a bit happier, music should do the trick. Plus, making playlists is always fun!

Don't forget to thaw the turkey.

Unsplash | Alison Marras

People seem to bank the 4-6 hours it takes to cook the turkey, but seem to forget that you also need to thaw that bad boy.

And while you're thawing the turkey, make some extra gravy.

You can freeze it and use it for later! Afterall, there is no such thing as too much gravy.

And then use a Thermos to keep it warm.

The Krazy Coupon Lady

It's hard to keep the gravy on the stove while everything else is cooking. The Krazy Coupon Lady recommends this brilliant hack!

Keep others out of the kitchen.

Imgur | bendesrochers

And YES, that includes the pups, too.

There is such thing as too many cooks in the kitchen, and having people giving "helpful" tips and tricks will just stress you out more.

Remember to surround yourself with the people you love.

There is no rule that says you have to spend Thanksgiving with your blood relatives. There's nothing wrong with spending it with your chosen family instead.

Take notes!

This is key for when you need to do it all again next year.

Although, if you only take one note and it says, "I'm never doing this again," I don't blame you at all.

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