Sunday, November 20, 2011

10 Ways to Spice Up Your Thanksgiving

     When you think about Thankgiving Day, what comes to mind? A picture perfect family feasting on roasted turkey and warm pumpkin pie in front of the fireplace? Or a stressful day of work which consists of sitting in silence around a dead bird? Whatever Thanksgiving day means at your house, there's always room to make it a little better. (Or more tolerable!) Thanksgiving should be fun, it doesn't have to be all about the cooking and cleaning. Here are a few simple ways to brighten up your November holiday. Stop dreading and start doing!

     1. Cook! Don't leave your grandma stranded in the kitchen! Lending a helping hand is never as awful as it seems. Get your ass in that kitchen and help out, even if it just means skinning potatoes. You'll not only make the cook happy, but you're also gaining experience in the kitchen AND making time pass by monumentally faster. Triple whammy.

     2. Make a playlist. As cheesy as it sounds, music sets the mood. Always. Have you ever tried watching a scary movie on mute? Not so scary anymore, is it? Create a playlist to fill your home with music on the big day. I'm lucky enough to come from a family that sees "Date Rape" by Sublime as appropriate holiday music, but other families might not be as tolerant. (Or as awesome. Cough cough.) Try to pick something everybody can enjoy. Make a mix of upbeat, mellow, happy songs and let it echo throughout the house!

     3. Pick out a movie. After the food has been devoured and the wine bottles are empty, a strange phenomenon called the "food coma" takes place. Plan out a movie or two to watch after dinner with the fam to keep them from passing out on the couches. Just make sure it's not Saw III.

     4. Dress up. There's no need to impress your family and friends with your appearance, but what's wrong with getting a little dolled up on a special day? Nothing! Slip into a warm, cozy, Fall-themed outfit with a simple necklace or scarf. An adorable apron adds to the whole "holiday" look. (Not cooking anything? I won't tell!)

     5. Serve a sinful dessert. Now's your chance to break out that triple-chocolate-hazelnut-caramel pie recipe. (I just made that up, but doesn't it sound amazing?) With everyone trying to cook low-calorie and low-fat meals nowadays, you have an even better excuse to go crazy with dessert. Find a sweet recipe and whip up something yummy. Now you'll really have something to look forward to!

     6. Break the wishbone! Never, ever, ever forget about this simple tradition! Dig that bad boy out of the turkey and find someone to break it with. Whoever gets the bigger side is granted a wish. Why not?

     7. Shut off your smartphone. However tempting it may be, the Thanksgiving dinner table is not the time for status updates. Tinkering around on your phone makes you look bored, rude and uninterested in the table conversation. Leave your phone in another room during your family feast. Twitter notifications can wait, I promise!

     8. Whip up some drinks. Although we all love turkey and stuffing oh-so-much, the drinks served at the Thanksgiving table are often overlooked. Instead of serving the usual wine, milk or orange juice, take it to another level and serve some creative holiday drinks! Try out these amazing recipes for apple pie spiced cider and the sleigh driver. You can't go wrong with cranberry juice either, but try to add a little extra zest. Cranberry juice slushies? Who knows!

     9. Snap tons of photos. Even if Uncle Paul hates having his photo taken with a red hot passion, he will appreciate it later in life. Don't be afraid to become to designated photographer on Thanksgiving Day. Try to get a good snapshot of everyone at least once, and don't forget to take a few pictures of the yummy food!

     10. Just deal with it. For some people, Thanksgiving will always be a miserable holiday no matter how hard they try to make it work. People get caught up in the food, the stress, the cleaning, and the nagging thought of everything being perfect. They forget the real meaning behind it. However your Thanksgiving day goes, just remember not to take it too seriously. Dropped the turkey? Laugh about it. Get snapped at in the kitchen? Brush it off. Get poked fun at during dinner? Shrug your shoulders. Thanksgiving is not about stress. It's about what YOU make it about. So suck it up and have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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