Here are some things to consider doing. Some items may not be applicable to you.


Also see Travel Relationships

“Some 691,000 children went hungry in America sometime in 2007, while close to one in eight Americans struggled to feed themselves adequately” –

  • Consider donating to a food bank or other charity, e.g., Feeding America
  • Consider offering to help at a homeless shelter or similar charity
  • Call relatives and friends to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving and to see how they’re doing
  • Consider watching a local parade

If you can’t afford enough food for your family:

If you are hosting a Thanksgiving gathering and/or meal:

  • Include your children in as much of the planning, preparations and hosting as feasible
  • Consider serving an entree other than turkey or other meat entrees
  • Consider inviting people you know who may not be able to join their family for Thanksgiving
  • Ask guests if they have any special dietary needs
  • If a guest offers to help or bring something, try to accept their offer – it will make them feel good to be able to help
  • If there will be children, try to make available food that children like and can eat without assistance
  • Try to provide vegetarian and low calorie options
  • Try to do most of your shopping well ahead of time, e.g., a week prior Thanksgiving is America’s peak day for home-cooking fires –
  • If you’re considering deep-frying the turkey, be aware that after doing testing, Underwriters Laboratories decided to not certify any turkey fryers (see their safety tips at Underwriters Laboratories)
  • Consider asking guests to bring a side dish, salad or dessert, etc.
  • Consider borrowing extra plates, dishes, glasses, etc. (consider asking friends who are going out of town for Thanksgiving)
  • If your dining room table is too small to accommodate your expected guests, consider putting smaller tables next to the table, having guests serve themselves before they sit at the table, set up several dining areas, and/or, sit outside
  • Consider serving food buffet style so guests will be able to more easily serve themselves the items they would like in the amounts they would like – it also allows for more mingling
  • Plan to do as much preparation as feasible the day before, e.g., cut up/peel food
  • If you have a small kitchen, consider preparing some of the menu items in advance
  • Provide an easy way for guests to recycle items
  • Take photos and/or video
  • If some of your guests don’t know other guests, be sure to introduce them to each other and consider getting all of your guests together at one time to do introductions and other remarks
  • Encourage your guests to get some exercise after the meal, e.g.:
    • Go for a walk
    • Play flag football
    • Play catch (e.g., football, baseball, Frisbee)
  • Organize some group activities, e.g.:
    • Storytelling
    • Games
    • Watching family videos
    • Jigsaw puzzle

If you are attending a Thanksgiving gathering and/or meal:

  • Well before, contact the host to determine if you can help with anything
  • Advise the host if you have special dietary needs and offer to bring appropriate items to meet your needs
  • If it is a potluck meal:
    • Try to choose a food item to contribute which will require minimal preparation at the event
    • Try to have your food item in a serving dish or bring a serving dish to use
    • Put your name on the bottom of your serving dish (e.g., on a piece of tape)
  • Plan to take a gift for the host(s)
  • Don’t arrive early and try not to arrive more than 15-30 minutes after the announced start time
  • After arriving, offer to help the host(s), e.g., assisting other guests, setting table, taking photos/video
  • Be aware that excessive consumption of foods like organ meats, shellfish, beef, beer and turkey with gravy might trigger a painful attack of gout, especially in men over 40 and women after menopause – other risky foods may include anchovies, herring, sardines, mushrooms, asparagus, peas, beans, mussels, kidney, liver, heart, brain, sweetbreads, broths, consomme
  • Consider not asking others about politics and personal issues, especially in a group setting
  • If someone asks you about something you don’t feel comfortable discussing, especially in a group setting, consider suggesting that you discuss it later
  • After the meal and/or near the end of the event, offer to help the host(s)
  • Get some exercise, e.g.:
    • Go for a walk
    • Play flag football
    • Play catch (e.g., football, baseball, Frisbee)
    • Jog
  • Afterwards, write a ‘thank you’ note to the host(s)

Expressing gratitude has been found to be good for your health

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