Hosting Thanksgiving? Here's How to Survive

thanksgiving dinner survive family

Halloween may have passed but there’s still time for one more horror story: This Thanksgiving, you’re hosting.

Whether you’re already married, getting married, or recently married, family functions have a way of stressing everyone out. Even if you love your in-laws and your partner’s weird uncle Willy (every family has one), hosting a food-based event where people expect to be fed well and catered to can be emotionally and physically exhausting. Here are some tips to help you deal with the overwhelm.

Emotionally “Budget”

You heard me. Be the Suze Orman of your emotions and budget how much you can afford to give for each activity. If you know that your in-laws require a lot of emotional energy then make sure you don’t have to spend too much one-on-one time with them.

Your physical, emotional, and mental energy all comes from the same source. It’s not unreasonable to be realistic about how much you can and can’t handle. Don’t try to grin and bear it for your family and make yourself completely miserable.

Ask for Help

If Amanda Palmer’s “The Art of Asking” has taught me anything, it’s that there’s no shame in asking for help. Don’t want to make 12 different dishes on very little sleep after spending hundreds of dollars on groceries? Potluck it. Ask Aunt Janet to bring her famous potatoes au gratin or whatever the hell it is she loves to make. She’ll feel good and you’ll have one less thing to do.

Worried the only dishes you’ll get from your families are revenge and an ashtray? Tell your partner to help you in the kitchen! Split duties so you’re not the only person having to do everything. You could even make it a kitchen competition! Which side of the family made the best side? The best bird? Only deploy this option if your family can get through UNO without threats of violence. Pettiness is a killer during the holidays, so don’t fall victim to it.

hugging house guest with wine

Set Boundaries

Finally, set boundaries from the get go. If Thanksgiving is over at 11, it’s over at 11. If you don’t want any shenanigans, tomfoolery, or general fuckery malaising your house, set that intention from the jump. Do kids get to walk around unattended? Are certain parts of the house off limits? Are the hand towels in the bathroom purely for decoration (I’m looking at you mom)? You know what the rules of your home are, but be sure to let all of your guests know, too. Plus, they’re coming into your home for a meal and respite. If they can’t abide by the rules, they can kick rocks on their way out.


Jordan A. Maney is a San Antonio-based wedding planner and owner of All The Days Event Co. She she started her company as a planning haven for all the couples the industry chooses to ignore. Instead of just making a brand, she's building a community. Find more of her sass, humor, and Southern hospitality at