Some Helpful Thanksgiving Tips

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that the holidays are upon us. (Where has the time gone?) The grocery stores and magazines are giving out their Thanksgiving menu planning guides, and I know some of you out there are starting to get a little freaked out in anticipation. Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy those near and dear, give thanks, and relax a little. One shouldn't feel pressured to channel Martha Stewart (unless one really wants to). Your family will still love you even if the dinner doesn't match the Norman Rockwell image. (They're family; what are they going to do? At most, you'll find yourself relieved of Thanksgiving duty next year.)

So this holiday, take a deep breath and relax with some of our very own helpful hints...

1. Open the can of cranberry jelly on both ends of the can, then slide out. This will allow the cranberry sauce to retain its lovely can-shape, complete with ridges.

2. Turkey: Find someone else to cook it. This has worked for me year after year. I've still never prepared one, but Husband is quite the expert.

3. Pies: Mrs. Smith's for pumpkin, Sara Lee for cherry. (There's really no sense knocking yourself out over pies when these are so good. I even heard Martha Stewart endorse Mrs. Smith's pumpkin pies one time on her show. If Martha likes them, then they must be good.)

4. Olives: Buy extra-large-sized olives so the children can stick them on their fingertips. If they're imaginative, they can put on an impromptu re-enactment of the first Thanksgiving.

5. Decorations: Go old school. Remember those hand turkeys from your kindgerten days? Trace your hand on a piece of construction paper. Add legs, a beak and a waddle. Voila!

6. If you have a little one in the house, put them in charge of place cards. We still have our custom Spongebob Squarepants-themed place cards that Charlie made a few years ago. (I was Sandy Cheeks and Husband was (and I argue, still is) Mr. Krabs).

7. Buy red potatoes and boil with the skins on. Mash with salt, pepper, butter, sour cream, and a little milk. So much easier than peeling the potatoes and tastes great. (Really, I'm not kidding.)

8. While you're tearing up the bread to make the stuffing, watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It's a trip.

9. Don't serve that greenbean casserole with the canned mushrooms and shoestring onions because it's just gross.

10. Do serve a vegetable that everyone can enjoy. Okay, forget I said that: How about a nice green salad?

Remember to have fun, reflect on those things you're thankful for, and have an extra piece of pie. To our vegan friends: Enjoy your Tofurkeys!

"We gather together to thank thee, our neighbors
For all of the blessings we count as our own
For food and for friendship
For music, art and laughter
For freedom in this world
For our Country, our home."