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How to Survive Thanksgiving in a Large Family

How to Survive Thanksgiving in a large family. Thanksgiving 2018.

How to Survive Thanksgiving in a Large Family

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Well, friends, we survived Thanksgiving 2018 with no injuries, casualties, or emergencies. One strange advantage to not having extended family nearby is we don’t have the Holiday Drama that includes dragging our little cherubs from one house to another for three days straight. It means my children with sensory issues don’t have to spend their holiday contending with large crowds of people (with the exception that our immediate family constitutes a large crowd of people). Speaking of family size, ours means events are always hosted at our house, another bonus for my sensitive kids.

How to Survive Thanksgiving in a large family. Thanksgiving puzzle 2018.

We put together our traditional puzzle.

How to Have a Super Simple, Stress-Free Thanksgiving in Your Large Family

I didn’t make a special breakfast, as I have in years past. I’ll do that for Christmas morning. But Thanksgiving morning was cold cereal, which my kids love anyway.

Chuck cooked the turkey because he always does.

I made the mashed potatoes, cranberries, and apple pie the day before Thanksgiving.

Easy Thanksgiving Tips

  1. Use your Instant Pot. Rather than spend half an hour stirring cranberries over the stovetop like my grandma used to, I cooked the cranberries in my Instant Pot (8 minutes, one cup of water, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 2 pounds of cranberries).
  2.  I cooked up the mashed potatoes, filled the crockpot and put it in the fridge overnight. Thanksgiving morning I pulled it out, turned it on “warm” and we had piping hot mashed potatoes by our one o’clock meal.
  3. Raise sons  (like Enoch) who will volunteer to make the pie crust when you mutter under your breath, “I hate making pie crust“. Judah is our usual apple pie baker, but, sadly, the State Patrol thought they needed him more than I did. He did come for Thanksgiving and eat the pie, however.
  4. Skip the Food No one Actually likes.

You know,  the ones I’m talking about. The green bean casserole, creamed corn, and jello anything. To name a few.

How to Survive Thanksgiving in a large family. Thanksgiving 2018.

Remember to be Thankful

We had so much fun and very little stress. We skipped the traditional go around the table and say something you are thankful for. Not because we aren’t thankful (we are) but because despite the warnings, dirty looks, and threats of life and limb, at least three kids will insist on giving a snarky answer, one or two won’t be able to think of a single thing they are thankful for (insert eye-roll) and someone will take five minutes and forty-three seconds to decide they are thankful for…Jesus. Or candy. Or YouTube.

Trust me on this one.

My children, however, noticed the omission of this long-held tradition, so the next day at lunch, when grandma and grandpa were not in attendance, we went around the table sharing what we were thankful for. One child said clean water (yes, please), another said family, but the show really stopped when another said, earnestly, “I’m thankful for AIDS prevention”. I mean, I think we all are, deep down, but you can see why I hesitate to carry on this tradition with my parents at the table.

How to Survive Thanksgiving in a large family. Thanksgiving 2018. Life with Six Boys.

Judah 21, Enoch 18, Mordecai 16, Tucker 13, Hezekiah 14, and Apollo 8.

Judah and Enoch were both home which was fun. Judah enjoyed showing his brothers the takedown techniques he is learning at WSP Academy. Enoch enjoyed playing Munchkin with his brothers.

By the way, if you have teens (boys especially, it seems) and are looking for games for them I highly suggest Munchkin and Exploding Kittens. Not because I enjoy these games, but because they provide hours of fun for my teen boys, my young adult boys, and even Apollo.

Large family Thanksgiving 2018.

Friday we played more games, ate leftovers, and watched The Meg (great movie). Saturday, the kids raked the lawn and worked outside for hours with Chuck. Several nearly died of exhaustion (or so I’m told…they looked perfectly fine to me).

How to Survive Thanksgiving in a large family. Thanksgiving 2018.

And now, we resume our regular family life. Which is sometimes hilarious, sometimes horrifying, but never, ever boring.

Has your kid ever been “thankful” for something bizarre? Be sure and share in the comments.



  1. The Critical Mom

    I wouldn’t consider thankfulness for AIDS prevention bizarre–hurrah for your socially conscious child! More power to him or her! If your parents are shocked (and I am assuming they’re about my age, 61, and I saw AIDS first hand in New York, destroying lives in the eighties) then I would hope they’d be proud. I hope I don’t sound snarky when I say surely they’re aware that their children have experienced sex.
    On another subject: I love the Fannie Farmer cranberry relish recipe, but have tweaked it: you don’t boil the cranberries. Wash them and throw them in the food processor with a whole, washed orange or two, sugar, cinnamon, and a bit of fresh ginger. Yum. Best to make the night before so flavors blend.

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