10 Tips for a Stress Free Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is almost here! The best day of the year to gather ‘round the table with friends and family, enjoy some amazing food and create some great memories. You can almost taste the turkey and dressing and smell the sweet aroma of the pumpkin pie, so get your stretchy pants ready!

For a lot of folks, hosting a Thanksgiving get-together means a whole lot of work, stuffed with an extra helping of stress. But thankfully, it doesn’t have to be! In fact, you can have the best Thanksgiving ever and keep your sanity, and we want to help. So, take a deep breath and remember some of these helpful tips.

Get a Headcount

Nothing raises the blood pressure more than getting last-minute additions and realizing you don’t have enough food or accommodations. The key is to find out early who is coming for Thanksgiving. Are you going to be hosting out-of-town relatives? Where are they going to be staying? Get an accurate headcount, then create a list of the things you’ll need to give yourself plenty of time to plan ahead. This way, you won’t be scrambling the day before or end up being short on food or essentials on the big day.

Set the Table Early (& Keep the Décor Simple)

Remember, simplicity can be both elegant and beautiful. Grab some flowers in season at your local grocery store for your table decorations, throw in a fun craft or activity for the kids to do at the table while they’re waiting, and remember to keep the focus on the experience and generating conversation. Set your table the night before so you can have more time to get things just the way you want them. If you’re looking for some simple, elegant, and just plain fun Thanksgiving décor ideas, be sure to check the harvest section in our online store and get them shipped directly to you, just in time for Thanksgiving.

Make a Music Playlist

Putting on some of your favorite tunes while you’re busy prepping will definitely help make the time go faster and reduce your stress levels. If you’re the type of person that starts playing Christmas music early, this would be the perfect time to start cranking up those holiday classics. Browse our music section for both new and classic Christmas albums (or get retro with some vinyl). Load up your favorite streaming service and create your Thanksgiving party playlist ahead of time, so it’s ready to go before your company arrives. You’ll discover that being the Thanksgiving DJ can be really fun!

Have Plenty of Beverages & Ice

Nothing keeps the party going and the conversation flowing by making sure people have a refreshing beverage in their hand. When you’re doing your initial planning, make sure you ask your guests what kinds of drinks they prefer, or ask them to bring something with them. Set up a drink station with some disposable coolers and plenty of ice, plus a coffee machine. Keep the station away from the kitchen, so it doesn’t interfere with the rest of your prep. If you’re looking for some drink ideas, we have plenty of options to please all your thirsty guests.

Delegate Tasks to Others

Hosting a Thanksgiving meal is a lot of work, and you shouldn’t have to bear all the responsibility on your own. Share the load! Get your spouse and the kids involved and give them their own missions (should they choose to accept them), and start delegating. Have the kids set the table or run the vacuum. Put somebody in charge of setting up the appetizers or the drink station. This will help you be able to focus on the things that need your full attention that morning.

Make it a Potluck

Allow your guests to show off their cooking skills by asking them to contribute something savory or sweet to the Thanksgiving spread. This will ensure you’ll have plenty of food to go around, plus some sweet endings for after the meal. Or you can make it super easy and just ask everybody to chip in and order some homestyle side dishes and desserts from us, and we’ll take good care of you and your guests. (Sweet Potato Casserole and Cinnamon Roll Pie, anyone?)  

Keep Your Appetizers Simple

You’re going to want to have some easily accessible finger foods and snacks to keep those turkey-hungry guests at bay. Just remember to keep it simple. Chips and Salsa, cheese and crackers, nuts, peanut brittle, or popcorn, for example. Check out our Pantry section for some more ideas or order some shareable sides to-go, like our Biscuit Beignets or Hashbrown Casserole Tots to really wow them. Take the pressure off with one more thing you can quickly check off your list.

Play a Game

Create some fantastic memories with your family and guests with some games. Encourage some friendly competition while you’re waiting to eat with a Jumbo Checker Tournament of Champions, piece together a challenging puzzle, play a few rounds of UNO with the kids. These are going to be the moments you’ll remember when you look back on this day.

Leave the Dinner Prep to Us

Let’s be real…getting up at the crack of dawn, stuffing a turkey, and waiting for hours for it to cook, then having to carve it is a TON of work. Then having to worry about making side dishes and desserts means you’re spending most of your Thanksgiving in the kitchen. Spending time with your family and friends is what matters the most, so let us help you have the Thanksgiving you deserve, without the fuss, the frustration, and the worry.

Our Thanksgiving Heat n’ Serve Meals go from oven to table in just 2 hours and come in two sizes. A feast serves 8-10 people, and a family dinner serves 4-6. You’ll get delicious oven-roasted turkey breast with turkey gravy, cranberry relish, cornbread dressing, amazing homestyle sides, and sweet yeast rolls, and more.  

It’s two steps and super easy. Just Heat n’ Serve! This could be the easiest Thanksgiving dinner you’ve ever created and a huge hit with all your guests. You deserve a break! (Plus, when you schedule your Thanksgiving Heat n’ Serve meal for early pickup on 11/21 or 11/22 we’ll give you a FREE bonus card.)

Remember to Give Thanks

Before you begin your meal, take a moment to go around the table and let everybody say something they are thankful for. It’s a great way to initiate more topics for conversation and a chance to really connect with one another. You might just be surprised and impacted by what people have to say and may even get a few tears and some well-deserved hugs.

We hope we can make this your best Thanksgiving ever! We are incredibly thankful to serve amazing guests like you. From our family to yours, we hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving, filled with fellowship, family, and of course, delicious food and fun!

Cracker Barrel Lifestyle

11 thoughts on “10 Tips for a Stress Free Thanksgiving

  1. The worst thing you could have done was a la carte your menu !!!! This USE to be my favorite breakfast place. I recommend it to EVERYONE. I own a business and I always hv large groups attending breakfast meetings. NOT ANYMORE!
    Jen i no longer will be going to the Merrillville, In . Is the location.

  2. I have a question I ordered on 11/07-2022 I have yet to get a confirmation in my order my bank card went through but no confirmation from Cracker Barrel

  3. Is there lard or pork fat in any of these thanksgiving dishes. Is there any kind of bacon or pork in the dressing???

  4. Are you able to provide what items will be available on the limited menu for Thanksgiving Day? I have multiple food allergies and am trying to make sure I can order something with my family on Thanksgiving. Thanks!

  5. I tried to order Thanksgiving plates last night. I spent two hours only for it to says try later because for some reason it would not take my order. I finally reached someone on the phone and she told me to call Thanksgiving day and I could place my order for curbside pickup. I have been trying to get someone on the phone to no avail. HELP!!!!!

  6. Can I warm it up today and then place in the fridge to eat tomorrow, since it takes so long to heat the turkey. And, can I heat it in the oven in the pans that it came in. And, where do I find what I ordered on the site.

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