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As November begins to roll in, the holiday season peaks its excited head around the corner, and what does it see? A big, juicy, stuffed turkey! Thanksgiving is a time of belly-stuffing food, fun-loving family and friends, and football.
It is pretty hard to not have a great Thanksgiving, but there are a couple of tips that will help to send your fall holiday over the top. These suggestions can be broken down into Preparation, Conversation, and Recovery.
If you are cooking and hosting family and friends for Thanksgiving, the best thing you can do is start early.
Let’s begin with the main dish, the beloved turkey. Usually, store-bought turkeys are around 18-22 pounds. This means you will need to roast said turkey for at least 4 – 4.5 hours (add an extra hour if the turkey is stuffed). Leave plenty of time before carving the turkey as this can be an unexpected time-consuming activity. Also, if you live with others in shared housing or co-living situation the ovens may be crowded, so it is beneficial to be the first one in.
The host will almost always take on the turkey challenge, but Thanksgiving should be a potluck feast. So make sure everyone who is coming has something to contribute. Whether it be a side dish or the dessert pie, never show up to Thanksgiving empty-handed.
Cooking is not the only part of Thanksgiving that requires preparation. Believe or not, if you wish to eat as much food as you can, there are a few steps you need to take ahead of time to prepare.
The best strategy for getting the greatest food intake is to reduce calories and maintain/increase cardio workouts during the week leading up to the feast. Then, on Wednesday, make sure to not eat any solids after lunch. A protein shake is a good Thanksgiving eve dinner. The next morning, make sure to wear your most stretchy waistband and you will be ready for an all-time mid-afternoon meal.
Because the Thanksgiving feast is so glorious, it can mean a long time sitting at the dinner table. To spice things up with family and friends, write down each person’s name on an index card and place them throughout the table. Everyone will sit at the seat with their name. This way, no cliques or small talking groups will form at the table and the conversation will include everyone.
Another way to add a little flair to your meal is to keep the conversation light, yet interesting. Go around the table and have everyone share what they are thankful for, what they are looking forward to in the next year, and what their favorite food at Thanksgiving is. This will stir conversation and give everyone a chance to share.
If you are ever in an awkward conversation with your annoying or weird relative, it is always easy to flip the topic towards the weather. This is a neutral subject and most everyone has something to say about it. Another good, simple topic to discuss is recently watched movies or movies that have come out.
Many people think the fun ends on Thanksgiving once the food runs out. However, there are many ways to keep the day rolling.
The first thing you want to do with that stomach full of stuffing and gravy is to plop yourself on the couch and watch some classic Thanksgiving football. It doesn’t even matter who is playing, just enjoy the sport as you digest the feast.
Once you have had plenty of time to digest and relax, go outside, get some fresh air, and for your own sake, work off some of those calories. Throwing the football around at the nearest park or in your backyard is a lot of fun, especially after watching the pros do it.
If you aren’t a big sports person, getting a group together to take a stroll around the neighborhood is a great way to decompress after all that eating. Especially in a place like San Francisco, it can be amazing to check out all the unique housing the city offers.
Lastly, before everyone leaves or when there is only a lucky few left, it is time to do the dishes. Even though it may seem like a buzzkill to the holiday, it is important to clean all the dishes the day off. If you don’t the food will stick to the plates and serving dishes and will make it impossible to wash the next day.
Grab two or three people, through on some music and get scrubbing! You will be so satisfied and happy with yourself at the end when everyone is gone and there is no mess to take care of.
Now that you have the keys to the preparation, conversation, and recovery, you have the tools to have your best Thanksgiving yet! Once it’s all over, you can crawl into your cozy bed or turn on your favorite sitcom and be proud of what you accomplished.