How to Handle Multiple Thanksgiving Invitations

A Guide to Visiting Many Loved Ones Without Destroying Your Sanity or Waistline
Many years ago, as a young single mother, I was faced with the typical holiday situation of rotating Thanksgiving with my children’s father. One Thanksgiving, when the kids were with their father, I was invited to three different dinners. I said “Sure”, as it seemed that the dinners were spaced far enough apart.

I learned a valuable lesson that Thanksgiving day: JUST SAY NO!

Over the years, I have watched my brothers and their wives attempt to juggle visiting as many relatives as possible during a short 24-48 hour stretch of time during the Thanksgiving holiday. Nothing generally good comes of attempting this. Small children become cranky spending so much time traveling from house to house, meeting many strangers. Of course, the waistlines are damaged.

In this day of multi-household families, how is it possible to visit many people on Thanksgiving, but not make yourself or your children feel miserable?

1. Don’t try to do too much in a short amount of time.
While it is possible to attend three Thanksgiving dinners if they are close together, adding too many miles to the mix is not a good idea.

2. Don’t feel obligated to taste everything at each dinner.
Try eating the main dish at one dinner, then having dessert at the last one you visit.

3. Don’t fill your plate.
Small portions of a few items will appease the host.

4. Concentrate on visiting with other guests.
If you are busy talking, others may not notice that you are not eating very much.

5. Focus on healthier options.
Rather than eating the Thanksgiving-traditional mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, or rolls, choose small portions of the protein or main dish and balance that with vegetables.

6. Inform your host(s) ahead of time.
When accepting an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner, politely tell your host that you look forward to visiting with them, but you have other obligations that day as well.

7. Don’t overdo your contributions to the Thanksgiving feast(s).
If you are traveling, you don’t want to be carrying multiple dishes that must either be kept refrigerated or kept warm. If you feel you must contribute something, offer to bring the punch or other beverage. A gift for the host, such as a bottle of wine, would be a nice gesture as well.

8. Do not feel obligated to eat at every stop.
If you have informed your host that you are visiting several places on Thanksgiving Day, they should understand that it is impossible to eat everywhere. Enjoy a beverage and the company.

9. It is possible to overlap Thanksgiving visits.
By informing your hosts ahead of time, they should understand that you may not arrive prior to Thanksgiving dinner being served.

10. Just say NO!
Politely but firmly tell your host that you are enjoying the Thanksgiving visit, and can’t possibly eat another bite.

It is possible to visit many friends and relatives on Thanksgiving Day without destroying your health or your waistline. Proper planning and concentration on relationships will go a long toward making it a reality.

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