8 Minimalist Thanksgiving Tips for a Meaningful Holiday

A minimalist Thanksgiving could be a more meaningful and less stressful way to celebrate the holiday. Growing up, I have many fond memories sitting around the table eating with family.

That’s what it should be all about. Create memorable experiences that you can always cherish. Don’t stress with planning and preparation.

Keeping things simple will allow you to enjoy this yearly celebration even more. Here are some tips for a minimalist turkey day.

Dinner table friends minmalist thanksgiving

1. Stay home

Every year, millions of Americans travel over 50 miles or more to eat with their relatives. They drive or even take a flight to reach their destination.

The amount spent to make these trips can be a lot. Plus, if you’re driving, you might have to deal with being in long traffic jams.

With flying, there’s always the possibility weather might cancel your flight. All of this is doubly stressful if you’re traveling with kids.

Rather than worrying about all of that, chose to stay home this year. It’ll save you on your finances and keep you more relaxed.

If there’s a year that you do want to travel, try eating with relatives or friends that don’t live farther than a few minutes away.

Growing up, my family would often eat with my grandparents, who lived only 10 to 15 minutes away.

2. Keep your menu simple

It’s very common for most people to prepare a feast of six or sevn dishes to enjoy. If you feel like that’s too much for you then limit your dinner table to two or three dishes.

It might seem unusual to your guests, but as long as you have peace, that’s what matters. You can make those two or three dishes taste so good, they’ll want to make their own menus simpler.

Feel free to just prepare your favorite foods. I know it’ll sound shocking to say, but you don’t have to prepare a turkey for dinner.

I’ve never made one myself, but I do know it takes a long time to make. Some of you probably don’t even like turkey, or maybe you’re vegan.

Instead, you can prepare whatever dishes will make you and your loved ones happy.

If anyone is super critical about you not having turkey, here’s a fun fact you can tell them. Most historians don’t even believe pilgrims had Turkey on the first thanksgiving.

They conclude they had deer with either duck or geese. So if they didn’t eat it, you can eat whatever you want.

3. Limit your guests

Dealing with a lot of guests to cater to can be just as stressful as traveling. It may seem having a lot of people come over is the norm, but it doesn’t have to be.

Instead, choose to only invite no more than 2 or 3 people to your home. Maybe invite someone that you know would probably be alone if you didn’t invite them.

If you already have a large immediate family, then feel free to just eat with each other. There’s no rule that says you have to have guests over every Thanksgiving.

4. Declutter early

If you’re having guests over, you might be concerned about how clean your house looks. By decluttering early, you won’t be rushing to get everything organized on the day of the holiday.

A week or two before the celebration, spend a little time every day organizing items in your home. Remove anything that’s just taking up space.

By the time the big day approaches, you’ll have your home looking as organized as you want it to look.

5. Prepare food ahead of time

Another rule that does not exist is cooking your meal on the day of Thanksgiving. You can save yourself so much time just preparing it all a day before.

The day of the holiday, you can have the food warmed up and ready to serve when it’s time for dinner.

6. Minimize your table decorations

Forget about all those fancy table decoration designs on Instagram or Pinterest. You can lay a nice simple tablecloth on your table, and it’ll do just fine.

After all, the main purpose of a tablecloth is to protect your table from getting stained. Sure, it can add style as well, but don’t feel you have to go overboard.

7. Make your own traditions

The common traditions of this holiday include traveling, eating turkey, and watching football on TV. Some of those things were common with my family, and I enjoyed them.

But these don’t have to be your traditions. You can make your own instead. Think of what you feel would be valuable to you on this day.

Maybe you would rather go volunteer at a soup kitchen than watch football. Perhaps you want to enjoy your dinner in the evening rather than the afternoon.

Anything that you feel would be memorable and enjoyable for you, you can try to make that a yearly tradition.

8. Remember to be grateful

The first time this holiday is believed to have been celebrated, it was done to give thanks for the successful harvest and other blessings that happened in the year.

While most of us aren’t growing harvests anymore, we still have our own things to be thankful for. Take time to reflect on what you’ve been grateful for in this past year.

In fact, you and your dinner guests can go around the table and each give thanks for one thing. It can be as simple as just being glad to be together with people and enjoying a warm meal.

I hope these tips remind you that the holidays don’t have to be complicated. They can be as simple as you want them to be, and potentially become a much more meaningful experience.

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  1. Maria Pinto says:

    We should be spreading thanks and gratitude all year long. I enjoyed growing up with family and sharing many a Thanksgiving meal. Now it will most likely be my younger sister, her husband and myself. He may make a small Turkey but I will do a Tofurky. I remember a funny story that Howard Lyman the “Mad Cowboy” told. He had his Mother in Law over for Thanksgiving, and she asked where the Turkey was. Howard said the Turkey was outside and if she wanted to eat it she would kill it herself. Actually I can’t remember the story word for word but the way he told it was funny.

    1. Definitely. Being thankful is something we often don’t do enough. I’m working on appreciating the little things in life more. Ha, that is funny. It really makes you think about if someone would eat an animal if they had to end its life themselves.