Big family holidays are always full of fun, food, and a healthy dose of chaos! Learn from a mom of 10 what it takes to fully enjoy Thanksgiving this year!
Thanksgiving festivities start up for us on Sunday – unbelievable! It’s time for this large family mama to get her game face on, roll up her sleeves and get to work! I’m in charge of the Sweet Potato Casserole and Cranberry Salad this year. We also have some final fall celebrations to attend this week and into the next, so I have to stay focused.
Having a large family can take the normal chaos of the holidays to an entirely new level, so today, I want you to take a deep breath and with a thankful and merry heart, read my guide to a Large Family Thanksgiving that is a blessing to you and others.
How to Plan & Prepare the Thanksgiving Meal
By now, you *should* know what you are making/bringing to all your Thanksgiving meals this year. When you are a larger-than-normal family, you need to bring your “fair share” of the meal. Make AT LEAST enough to feed your own family of the dishes you are to bring. Depending on the size of the gathering, DOUBLING what you would usually make is a good idea.
Prepare ahead of time anything you can, and be sure to include your children in the cooking and baking as much as you reasonably can. I use the 12 Week Holiday Planner to stay on track with this! LEARN MORE HERE >>
Make sure everyone in your family knows what to expect and what is expected of them. Kids need to know what you expect from them during dinner and you need to make sure what you are expecting is reasonable.
Give them jobs to do from the biggest to the smallest – and give them buddies to do those jobs with.
Some job ideas:
- Set the table
- Arrange furniture
- Put together game ideas
- Tidy rooms
- Set up tables
- Make centerpieces
- Help with shopping
- Wash dishes
- Take out trash
Mom’s Thanksgiving Outfit Guide
I told you how I like to have everyone’s outfits set aside ahead of time. For the children, we try to dress them in colors that are easily picked out in a crowd (orange is great for this!) However, as a large family mom, it’s YOUR outfit that needs the most attention. That may sound petty, but hear me out…
I put together a few outfits to give you an idea of why what you wear this Thanksgiving is important. The 3 biggest things I consider when it comes to festive functions are:
When you have a lot of littles, comfort is beyond important. You have to be able to move easily, get up and down easily, cook easily, clean easily. You do not want to be uncomfortable on a day like this. And there is no need for it!
This is one of my favorite outfits. The sweater and boots are from WalMart, the skirt is a tiered skirt from a thrift store. I’m also wearing fleece-lined leggings which are great for those cold days when you want to wear a skirt but need the warmth.
Layers are necessary for the large family mom. You need to be able to stay warm, peel off layers if you get hot, remove soiled layers when the baby inevitably throws food on you, and still manage to make this large family mom gig look all the awesome it actually is!
I don’t have any photos of the outfit above without the jacket, but the shirt underneath is a simple knit long-sleeve top. Having a scarf on hand is a good idea too because it can be used to cover up any stains you might acquire over the course of the day.
Another layering item I love for gatherings is a nursing tank. I don’t have to disappear into the back room to nurse discreetly (unless I just want to get away from all the noise!).
And finally, beauty:
I’m not talking about the kind of beauty that is vain, but rather the kind that shines Christ! You get the opportunity to be a witness for Christ in everything you do this holiday season. Wear clothes that fit well, look nice on you, and accentuate the fact that you are a temple for a living and holy God! How thankful you should be!
Stress-Free Thanksgiving Travel
First of all, you might want to take a look at my post about what to pack for a family day trip. This post is full of ideas that will help you pack for Thanksgiving travels.
Allow yourself plenty of time to travel to your destination. Large families are notoriously late because there are so many people to get ready and out the door. In our house, I get everyone else ready first and then set them down to a movie or something else relatively quiet while I get ready. That way I can get ready while knowing everyone else is ready to go.
Start the procession to the van 10-15 minutes ahead of time. That gives you enough time to get on your way in time because inevitably someone needs a last minute restroom break, drink of water, or manages to forget their shoes!
How to Be a Blessing and Be Blessed this Thanksgiving!
If you are going to truly enjoy this final Fall fling, you have to be THANKFUL. Be thankful for the food, the family, the fellowship. Be thankful for the opportunity to publicly give thanks to your Lord and Savior! Be grateful to your host/guests, your children, your spouse.
Involve your guests in the tradition of the Blessing Tree, or gather your family for a new Thanksgiving tradition – a Family Thanksgiving Worship Service full of Scripture and Hymns to celebrate this season!
This is your opportunity to shine for Christ. Don’t squander it by being all stressed out! Sometimes the best way to bless others is to be blessed yourself. If you are displaying a thankful attitude, this cannot help but rub off on those around you. Enjoy the festivities and others are certain to enjoy them too!