Six Steps to Less Thanksgiving Stress

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Rebecca Harpster
Golden Gate Better Business Bureau

Thanksgiving is one of the biggest cooking and entertaining days of the year! It’s a celebration of friends, family, food, and thanks, and traditionally involves a large Thanksgiving dinner. Unfortunately, feeding a crowd can be stressful and exhausting!

No matter the size of your kitchen, or the number of your guests, stress less this Thanksgiving with tips from your Better Business Bureau (BBB):

  1. Have a plumber on speed dial. Did you know Thanksgiving and Black Friday are some of the busiest days of the year for plumbers? Kitchen sinks are clogged and garbage disposals are broken in an effort to clean up after the meal. Have the number of a trustworthy plumber on hand to decrease stress in case something goes wrong. In 2016, consumers nationwide filed nearly 5,400 complaints against plumbers with BBB. Many complaints allege shoddy work and poor customer service, so it’s important to do your research on to find a trustworthy plumber near you! For more tips on hiring a plumber, visit
  2. Ask for help. When you’re the one in charge of Thanksgiving dinner, it can be easy to feel alone and overwhelmed. However, Thanksgiving is all about coming together, so don’t be afraid to ask for help! Consider throwing a Thanksgiving potluck. Ask guests to bring their favorite appetizer, dessert, or side dish. Don’t let your manners get in the way – it’s okay to ask for help preparing food in the kitchen or cleaning up after the meal or between courses. Many hands make light work, and your guests will enjoy the event more knowing that they contributed!
  3. Delegate. If it’s within your means, hire a business to help you out. You want your house to be spotless for your guests, but cleaning can take a lot of time and effort. Consider hiring a trustworthy BBB Accredited housecleaning service to help you out – just make sure to make plans in advance. You can also search to find a local bakery to supply all the types of pies you crave on Thanksgiving.
  4. Prepare ahead of time. Part of what makes Thanksgiving so stressful is the amount of work you have to do in just one day. Trying to cook the turkey, make sides and appetizers, and bake desserts in the span of a few hours is truly daunting! Thankfully, you can do a lot of the work ahead of time. Think about your tasks, and do them as early as possible. Go shopping for your ingredients throughout the week, set your table the night before, and do your baking in advance. Create a game plan and schedule for your “day of” tasks to keep you on track and organized.
  5. Stick with what you know. It’s tempting to show off your cooking skills and try to impress your guests with a gourmet meal. However, it’s better to stay away from unfamiliar recipes if possible. Trying to prepare a brand new dish can increase your stress, especially if something goes wrong! I know it takes me at least a few attempts to really nail down a dish, and it’s much easier to go through the motions of making a recipe that I’ve cooked many times. Your guests will want traditional Thanksgiving flavors, so there’s no need to leave your comfort zone. 
  6. Be thankful! It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of entertaining and cooking, but try to remember what the day is all about! Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to spend time with your friends and family and center yourself. Try to relax and enjoy it, and focus on all of the things you have to be thankful for! If necessary, go out to dinner! You can find wonderful local restaurants at

You can reach your BBB at or (510) 844-2000, or by visiting