Holiday Self-Care: How I’m Putting Family First During Thanksgiving (& Not Cooking!) by Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead

Holidays Parenting
a year ago
Holiday Self-Care: How I’m Putting Family First During Thanksgiving (& Not Cooking!)

I’m sure I’m stating the obvious when I say that the holidays can be stressful. They’re stressful in different ways for each of us. For me, my husband will be working on Thanksgiving. He will likely get home after 6 p.m., though it’s hard to know for sure.

I’ve never cooked a turkey before (our mothers usually host, though we’re too far from home to travel this year). Everyone who knows me well knows that I’m not a good cook and don’t enjoy it. Even if I attempted a traditional Thanksgiving meal and avoided disaster (and that’s a BIG if!), it would be hard to time everything right, not knowing for sure when my husband would be home.

So I’ve made a decision: I’m not going to cook! My sons and I are going to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, something we missed for years because we usually spent the morning in the car, traveling to see family. We’re going to eat lunch at home and then go to the movies, something we never would have considered in the past. Then when my husband gets home, we’re going to go out to eat. The more I think about it, the more I love this low-key, low-stress, family-centered plan! 

What are you doing to minimize stress this holiday season?

Photo: Tonya Evans Photography

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Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds
How wonderful, Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead ! I love that you are embracing what works best for YOUR family. Yes, we are all different and we need to do what makes sense for us. On my side, my house is usually the one where we gather. This year, we are expecting 20+ people, which is fairly daunting. I am cooking, but my sister and sister-in-law and aunt are each bringing something, too, so it shouldn't be too bad. My daughters (who will be home from college for the first time!) will help me, too. So while I am stressing a bit, I also am looking forward to having the family over! Happy Thanksgiving!!
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
That sounds wonderful, Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds! Enjoy your daughters and the rest of your family. Take full advantage of the help!!
Meredith Schneider
Love this Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead ! We are changing things up this year too. For the very first time ever we are going out to eat for Thanksgiving dinner too. For years we catered desserts for Thanksgiving at our coffee shop/restaurant. I baked everything from scratch and baked all week and literally all night long Thanksgiving eve from cheesecakes, cookies, pecan pies, and tons of apple pies. Oh and cook our Turkey during the night. We would stay open till noon Thanksgiving Day so our customers could pick up their orders. Then close go home eat and pass out. I’ll still cook a few things during the week but not everything all in one day. Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds cherish every second! Sounds like you have lots of helpers. Cheers to you both! 😘🍷Have an amazing Thanksgiving!
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
What a difference for you this year, Meredith Schneider ! Enjoy!!
Diona DeHaven Mower
My in laws moved back to town after 15 years in Florida. They live 2 doors down. For the second time in 16 years I will only make mashed potatoes for dinner. She is doing the rest. I decided to try my hand at a gluten free, dairy free, cinnamon free pumpkin pie. Baking is therapeutic for me and I like trying to find ways to meet out allergy needs. But I am totally embracing this light meal prep!
Stephanie Cannoe
To minimize stress, first on my list is to book a massage ! Self care is so important. I also intend to be more mindful and present, focusing on what matters most. To inspire greater balance in this way. To this end to practice gratitude daily, I hope to remember this is a priority.. And I am happy to share that this year is especially special because my family is back together again. Moments to hold onto, since we are all healthy. A true blessing. We never know what tomorrow will bring. Thank you for asking this question, this has solidified my vision and intention for the holidays!
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
Getting a massage is my favorite self-care practice, Stephanie Cannoe ! Enjoy! And you're right about gratitude being a practice!
Stacey Roberts
I don’t know exactly what this says about me, but your wisdom is mind blowing! I’ve never heard nor would I ever think of getting a massage to start with, especially as a woman. Usually we go after when we’ve been beat to a pulp and even then feel guilty that we’re “indulging” ourselves. You’re a very wise person Miss Stephanie!
Stephanie Cannoe
Stacey Roberts You are so kind. Thank you for the compliment! I will receive it and I am smiling Back at you.
Tiffany Zook
My man always has to work on Thanksgiving as well, I’m all for a good turkey sandwich and a hike with my girls. Our home has always been miles from family, so we celebrate holidays when we are able to travel back home. It may be Thanksgiving in January and Christmas in July...more time with family and less time in the kitchen! Yolo!
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
So true, Tiffany Zook Enjoy your day. Miss you so! xoxo
Randi Williams
That sounds absolutely wonderful Ann Marie! We are having a family dinner with my husbands family and everyone brings something to contribute so no one person is doing all the work!
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
That's how it should be, Randi Williams ! Then everyone can enjoy!
Kimberly Johnson
We're having a very untraditional Thanksgiving this year. We're heading out of town for a friend's wedding, so no turkey and dressing for us. I'll miss spending time with our extended family, but not having to worry about what to cook and when we have to be places is refreshing, especially with the week I've had!
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
I'm all for nontraditional! I hope you have a great time, Kimberly Johnson ! You deserve and need a little down time (and some dancing!).
Mike Prochaska
hoping to do the same on thanksgiving going to see coco at one of those fancy theaters that you can eat at
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
Sounds great, Mike Prochaska !We're going to see Wonder!
Heather Murphy-Fritz
I think your plan sounds amazing! I’m sure you and your boys will enjoy the holiday your way. We are traveling, but planning a date night on Wednesday to make the most of free babysitting!
Bri Montoya
Having had a job for 8 years where holidays often did not mean a day off, I learned that making the best of holidays was truly about finding new family traditions, especially those that veered from “the norm”! Sounds like a perfect day to me!
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
Couldn’t agree more, Bri Montoya ! Enjoy your day!
Nancy Dafoe
Just saw this one and love it.

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