Thanksgiving is the most stress-free holiday of them all. All you have to worry about is fixing the dishes, eating great food, and catching up with family members as you sip warm drinks around a warm fire. I know this because I recently saw an ad on TV, and that’s what it showed. So, it must be true.

And, time for reality to kick in. Thanksgiving, like any major holiday, is stressful. Besides preparing food, making meals, and decorating your home, there is also the need to keep your place looking nice and worrying about what relatives are going to be at each other's throats this year.

Repeat after me: Thanksgiving is not, never has been, and never will be stress-free.


So how do you deal with Thanksgiving stress ("more wine" is not an acceptable answer)?

Here are some tips from about how you can deal with the added pressure of the holidays. And remember, these apply for all holidays.

Prepare earlier, much earlier

Your day will be a lot easier if you start preparing things a couple of weeks before the holiday. Yes, I said weeks. If you spend a half-hour a day cleaning your place, prepping the food, and decorating, by the time Thanksgiving rolls in you will be able to focus on cooking the meal and maybe (gasp!) actually talking to people.

Here's what's it's like to prep for a family of...800.

Don’t expect too much from your family

You know the specific relatives or guests that are going to rub you the wrong way. Before they even arrive, accept the fact that they are going to irritate you. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with them, you only have to tolerate them. Whatever you do, don’t invite people over expecting them to be completely different for the day.

If you didn’t like them on the day before Thanksgiving, you probably won’t like them on Thanksgiving. If the relative really bothers you, then don’t invite them over to your party.

At least it won't get this bad, I hope.

Don’t gorge yourself on food

Feeling full and satisfied is the goal of a Thanksgiving meal, not feeling like you’re about to explode.

Sample sparingly throughout the day, and stop eating an hour before mealtime. Also, watch the alcohol consumption -- though this may help with the aforementioned relatives, it fills your stomach and can ruin the taste of the food and make your stomach feel too full.

Take the time to appreciate and understand Thanksgiving

Take a moment before everybody arrives to be thankful for the good things and people in your life. After all, that is what the day is all about. So take the time to be grateful for all of the positive people and activities you get to experience every day. You will be much happier because you will realize just how much you have to be thankful for.

And now, for a little comic relief: