How To Survive Thanksgiving With Your Family

by Sheri

This post may contain referral links, which means I may receive a small credit, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. All opinions remain my own.

Strategies To Survive Thanksgiving With Your Family And How To Make It Amazing!

Thanksgiving is coming up. it is a time to celebrate traditions, eat traditional food, spend time with family, and be grateful for everything in your life. Giving thanks for the great things coming in the future. Why would anyone need advice on how to survive Thanksgiving with family?

For some, it is a time for the family to sit around the table, to enjoy happy memories, and share stories.

Others may approach this time of the year with a time of anxiety stress and dread.

How to survive Thanksgiving with your family Food on the table


Are you looking forward to spending time with your extended family or are you going to be walking on eggshells?
Whether your family is small or large, there are always dynamics to consider during the holidays. It is a time to enjoy good food and great company.

Most people are happy, and they have figured out the formula of a great get together.

Yet not all families have quite figured it out. Many times, Thanksgiving dinners have been ruined by drama.

The best predictor of future behavior is relevant past behavior right? Well what if you could control how it turns out?


Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out.'Click To Tweet


You know your family dynamics. Your mom doesn’t like your sister’s husband, Dad will not say much while hugging his bottle of Whisky, Grandpa will fuss all night about his latest ailment, and your aunt will whisper her thoughts to you about your cousin’s new girlfriend.

The cousins you haven’t seen since last Thanksgiving are ready to stir the pot, and you can only pray the kids don’t end up gluing their hands to the wall….again.

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.Click To Tweet


So what can you do to ensure that no one ends up throwing turkey or wine at the dinner table?

Here’s how to survive Thanksgiving with your family.


Have Several Seats….At The Table

Survive Thanksgiving With Your Family Thanksgiving

I say that in a nice way. It is important to take charge of seating.

Separate those who do not get along well by seating them on different ends of the table.

When planning for Thanksgiving dinner, make beautiful place cards, this way when everyone goes to take their seat, they will sit where they have been assigned.

I know, it sounds like it is for kids, but hey, if it works why not?

You want to survive Thanksgiving with your family don’t you?


Guide The Conversation

Or get your partner to do it. LOL. A lot of families begin Thanksgiving dinner on a nice note, but as soon as dinner table conversation begins, and little wine is sipped, friendliness and manners have a tendency to go out of the window.

When you feel the tension coming on, steer the conversation in a different direction.

A great way to survive Thanksgiving with your family is to play a game while having dinner. For example, start a game of sharing your Thanksgiving memories and gratefulness.

Or place a jar with questions on the table, asking questions like “What would a perfect day look like for you?”.

Each person takes a card and answers the questions. This will divert their attention away from arguments.


'After a good dinner, one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.'Click To Tweet


Can’t Stand The Heat? Stay Out Of The Kitchen

How to survive Thanksgiving with your family Kitchen and cooking together

If you love to cook, especially large dinners like you would on Thanksgiving, you might not want a lot of people in your kitchen. Or any on at all for that matter.

Moms will tell their daughters how to make the perfect turkey, your brother might think your mashed potatoes suck. You know what? It is one day out of the year. Open up your kitchen to anyone who is willing and ready to lend a helping hand. Give in.

When cooking I love using Kate Spade products. I love this collection. Great price, excellent quality.

Isn’t that kettle the cutest little thing ever?

Thanksgiving is about being together as a family. Be thankful that your sister or her husband can cook better than you. Even if you will never admit it. Have fun!


Avoid Politics and Religion

Just don’t do it. Everyone will have their opinions and views and will try to project these opinions and thoughts on everyone around the dinner table in a matter of 45 minutes.

Don’t let yourself get sucked in. As soon as you hear, Christians and Muslims, Trump, Merkel or Putin, please redirect the conversation.


Just Be Yourself

The best way to survive Thanksgiving with your family is to just be yourself. Sure, we all have that one family member who is passive aggressive. Oh well. Don’t adjust your life or your character in order to gain approval of others.

We all yearn to be loved and accepted by our family. Be open, let them know what is new in your life, share your goals and successes. Family tends to be more open when you yourself keep an open mind. If you are already anticipating drama and fighting, your energy will send that out into the universe and it is exactly what you will get.

Your family may not always understand you or really understand what you are about. It is up to you to explain it to them. Who knows, you might even look forward to next year.


'Forever on Thanksgiving Day, the heart will find the pathway home.' - Wilbur D. NesbitClick To Tweet


On another note, you might be thinking, “hey, we have the most fun Thanksgiving dinners ever!”

Then great, I guess you don’t need this advice then.

What I can suggest to those who are trying to figure out how to survive Thanksgiving with your family, and those who already have it down pat are these dinner table ideas.

I am no Martha Stewart, but here little things you can do to spruce up the dinner table.

  • Use colourful textiles – not the usual white or ivory
  • Try succulents and cut flowers
  • Highlight a unique centerpiece with handwritten notes of gratitude
  • Use autumn colors or go for an indigo, gold, and blue mix
  • Try using some candle lamps or seasonal pumpkin candle-holders

Here are 27 Easy and Elegant Thanksgiving Centerpieces


Never Had Your Family Together At Your Home For Thanksgiving?

How to survive Thanksgiving with your family makig pumpkin pie a busy bee's life

Here is your traditional Thanksgiving dinner menu list starring all of the classics: turkey, potatoes, cranberry sauce, and more. Go through the checklist of what you will make before heading to the grocery store.

  • Roast Turkey
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Gravy
  • Sauteed Green Beans with Shallot Crisps
  • Corn Bread
  • Cranberry Relish
  • Chardonnay-Glazed Carrots
  • Pumpkin or Pecan Pie

Don’t forget the stuffing! The food alone should keep everyone happy. Click here for an instant download of my favorite Chestnut and Procini Mushroom Stuffing.


Here are great ways of how to survive Thanksgiving with your family. Make the best of the holiday and be thankful and grateful. #Blog | #Forgiveness| #Self | #Motivational | #purposefulhabits | #Relationships | #Change | #Family | #SelfLove | #SelfCare | #Thanksgiving| #PersonalDevelopment #Thanksgivingdinner

Relax Your Expectations And Remain Grateful

While Thanksgiving reminds us to be grateful for all the blessings already in our lives, it’s much more than a dinner. Relax your expectations.

Your ideal holiday won’t materialize unless you make it happen. Remember what the day is about. It’s isn’t just turkey, football, and pies. Thanksgiving is truly about coming together as a family to give thanks.

Focus on your blessings, happiness, appreciation, and gratitude.

How are you spending Thanksgiving this year and where?

Have stories of how you survive Thanksgiving with your family?

Share them with me in the comments section below.


Purposeful Habits xoxo Sheri


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Deserted_Queen May 9, 2018 - 21:56

I really wish I would have read this article before my thanksgiving at my boyfriends home in Italy…

Sarmistha Goswami November 25, 2017 - 16:40

I would say these are really good tips to keep in mind while throwing any kind of parties at home. Separating people who dobnot get along with strategic seating arrangement is such a good idea. Thanks for sharing.

Corinna November 5, 2017 - 12:15

Oh wow, thanks for sharing! I especially love the list of the traditional dishes. I had the pleasure to spend a real American Thanksgiving in Florida once and it was a blast! In Vienna, Austria we don’t really celebrate, but I may organise a Thanksgiving party this year! 😀

Sheri @ A Busy Bees Life November 5, 2017 - 17:15

Hallo Corinna, wie geht’s? I am in Austria too and I can relate completely. We have lots of family in the USA and we have friends and colleagues here who celebrate it and we are involved too. It is always a great event.

ayeshafarhad October 31, 2017 - 23:13

I love your tip about the kitchen and food one! I hate it when people comment on how I dont cook a certain dish properly. Mate you’re more than welcomed to make it in my kitchen! Watch how they back out haha!

hussayn October 31, 2017 - 18:49

The two worst strategic mistakes to make are acting prematurely and letting an opportunity slip; to avoid this, the warrior treats each situation as if it were unique and never resorts to formulae, recipes or other people’s opinions.
thanks for useful tips

Ramesh Dhakal October 31, 2017 - 01:01

I heard about thanks giving but we dont have thanks giving days or culture in our country. But it doesnot mean that we never thanks others. Awesome survival points. Thank you for sharing.

whodoido October 30, 2017 - 16:38

Shame we don’t have Thankgiving in the UK. I agree – best to avoid discussing politics and religion at the table. Thanksgiving dinner menu sounds amazing with the roast turkey, glazed carrots and corn bread. I will definitely be trying out the chestnut and porcini mushroom stuffing recipe – this would be perfect for xmas dinner!

Via Bella October 30, 2017 - 14:54

Avoiding politics is such a big one unless you know that both sides can be respectful. So it is really dependent on the people.

Ut Minh October 30, 2017 - 08:23

This is a great tips! We don’t have Thanksgiving. I live with a small family, we watch the weekend and especially Christmas is Thanksgiving. Everyone organized dinner and exchanged love.

Aman Kumar October 30, 2017 - 06:54

Hello Sheri,

Great informative post over here 🙂

To accomplished anything, a great tips advise is needed. Thanksgiving is such a great tips to celebrate the especial day with all family member eating in one platform.

These all tips are so beneficial to family, not only a dinner but from my prospective its a unit way of having such thing. I personally love thanksgiving with my family and, i wish we all should do it once.

These tips sound much more interesting then its actually are.

Thanks for the share

Ingrid Rizzolo October 30, 2017 - 00:00

I liked the menu list. I may just copy it and use it for my Thanksgiving dinner this year. Very impressive. The one drawback is that I would have to run every day to burn of those calories

Melanie May October 29, 2017 - 15:38

I love that photo at the start with the gorgeous table and I love the tip about opening your kitchen and letting everyone cook. This is something that I do as it take the pressure off the host and it means everybody can get involved.

Suanlian Tangpua October 29, 2017 - 06:02

We don’t have thanksgiving in India but for me every Sunday is a thanksgiving with my family. Great Tips!!

Ken Hanaya October 28, 2017 - 23:56

Nice tips you have. Our family shows up, eats, then goes off and does their own thing. You can always tell who are the ones to gossip since they stay at the table and talk among each other while the rest are glued to the television watching football.

Claire (@clairebeary94) October 28, 2017 - 20:24

The first two Thanksgiving dining table photos you have there is so beautiful! It’s dreamy. I love all of your tips, and I am looking toward for my Thanksgiving!

Shelby @Fitasamamabear October 28, 2017 - 19:30

This post made me smile- every family has such a unique dynamic sometimes you need a game plan going in!

Expedition Motherhood October 28, 2017 - 14:26

This is a fantastic post! This is the first year that we will be spending Thanksgiving with family so it should be interesting. Family is extremely religious and my husband and I are a little more on the relaxed side which drives everyone crazy. Most of the time they are trying to convince us to be more like them. I will try to redirect the conversations a little more tactfully, usually I just walk away which makes everyone mad.

Tiina Arminen (@tibstips) October 28, 2017 - 11:49

In Europe we are not really celebrating Thanksgiving, but these tips are perfect for any family dinners and gatherings. It’s so important to keep the lovely spirit and avoid all the possible conflicts.

Natalie October 28, 2017 - 07:34

Great tips! I imagine these would work for pretty much any family gathering!

Nayna Kanabar October 27, 2017 - 22:55

This is a great post and it would work for any family gathering or party too. Pot luck would be a good idea get everyone to bring a designated dish.

toastycritic October 27, 2017 - 20:01

Yeah, politics and religion unless everyone agrees with you would be a good thing to avoid when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner. It will not end well. It’s about reminding us of what we are thankful for.

London Mumma October 27, 2017 - 19:37

We do not celebrate thanks giving here in the UK, but I certainly think it can be applied to Christmas.

ashley October 27, 2017 - 18:13

this is very informative! I find avoiding politics at our family functions is always key to a happy and relaxing night. also guiding the conversation to neutral topics helps too!

Our Family World October 27, 2017 - 10:05

I can relate to this article. Sometimes there are some family members that really do not get along which could make other guests feel uncomfortable. I like your suggestion of having a game during dinner. That will me an effective way to steer the conversation towards pleasantries instead of past grudges.

BhumiI October 27, 2017 - 07:21

Thanksgiving is such a great event! Well here in India, not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving but having some good time in some family gathering is never a bad idea, is it? :’)
ps. I loved the recipes tho

Jeenu Pillai October 27, 2017 - 06:57

We don’t have thanksgiving here in India but I must say it is a beautiful concept. The tips you have shared here holds true for any festival where we have family gatherings. Thank you!

Jhilmil Bhansali October 27, 2017 - 06:55

Some really great tips for a family for Thanksgiving. Indeed it is the time of the ear when we need to thank even the smallest life for the happiness they have showered us with!

Erin October 27, 2017 - 02:54

Love everything about this post! Spot on advice and I love all the great quotes you sprinkled throughout! Plus, I gotta try this recipe. Packed full of awesome content. Thank you!

threebabiesundertwo October 27, 2017 - 01:57

These tips are perfection!! Especially, don’t talk about politics or religion. That is the most annoying thing to hear people argue over, especially at family gatherings! Wonderful tips. really enjoyed the recipe too!
Bekah S

Sarah Kranz October 26, 2017 - 22:53

This is one of those tricky situations where holidays means spending a lot of time with family! Wonderful tips 🙂

Macy October 26, 2017 - 21:59

Great tips! It’s funny how sometimes our family knows just how to push our buttons.

Sangeetha October 26, 2017 - 18:57

Those were some great tips! Love the way you added some quotes that are so easy to tweet. Gatherings are so fun if they are managed well, thanks for sharing.

Healthwealthbridge by Dr.Amrita Basu October 26, 2017 - 18:47

Oh God surviving family can sometimes be a chore.Loved all the great advice.You are very wise.

alysonwhalen October 26, 2017 - 18:41

Wow! Great post with so much info! The part about family makes me laugh! Most of the time ours goes pretty smoothly but you just never know what’s going to get said or brought up!

stephaniesherlock October 26, 2017 - 17:43

This blog is such a great resource. You have covered it all, must haves, recipes, center pieces, and the quotes can be great conversation starters.

Amalia October 26, 2017 - 17:40

First of all let me tell you that your Thanksgiving table layout looks incredible, hoping to be like that one day! Making food for a lot of people can be stressful but in the end it’s a good day with the family!

EG III October 26, 2017 - 13:21

I actually miss the days of big family dinners around Thanksgiving. It hasn’t really been a tradition in my family since the passing of my mother and grandmother so now when the holiday rolls around everyone seems to be spread out 🙁

eliza October 26, 2017 - 00:55

This post is a real talk, these scenarios really happen. And those tips that you provided are realistic too. I appreciate you took time on writing this as a lot will benefit and enjoy Thanksgiving in a better way.

Sreekar Harinatha October 25, 2017 - 15:13

Loved your emmm Survival tips! Nice to see the other side of the family get togethers. Nice practical tips for the loners too!

arra odeza (@acodeza) October 25, 2017 - 14:56

Great tips! Yes everyone looks forward to Thanksgiving every year but the delima of preparing for a feast is stressful. Your tips can surely help me survive this year’s Thanksgiving

Eloise - October 25, 2017 - 08:29

Great tips! It’s awesome that you may be able to help a family have a good time for Thanksgiving! My trick is to get to know people better before the big event, so you can more easily avoid and manage conflicts.

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