If you’re opting to dine out these Thanksgiving tips instead of slaving over the stove, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, new research from the National Restaurant Association estimates that 15 million Americans will be heading out to eat instead of hosting dinner for the family at home. But while the pros of this trend are pretty obvious (less cooking and clean-up for you!), you may not be thinking about the stress that will be served up alongside the turkey.
Eating out on this traditionally homey holiday can be chaotic–especially when various family personalities can make planning the logistics difficult. “A restaurant alone doesn’t provide a buffer against a lengthy history of tricky family dynamics,” says clinical psychologist and KnowMore.tv expert Dr. Barbara Greenberg. Here are five tips that’ll help make your holiday dining out experience something to be thankful for.
1- Choose a point person.
Put someone in charge to collect ideas, keep track of RSVPs, and make reservations (especially if you’re part of a large family). Rather than using the phone, communicate in an open format by sending out a group invitation via Evite, Facebook, or email which will help everyone feel like they’re taking part in the planning process.
2- Review menus.
Some restaurants add Thanksgiving Day foods to their menus, while others do a prix fixe menu or just stick to their regular offerings. Use menupages.com, opentable.com, and restaurant websites to review menus and send links to your family members beforehand. This will help avoid the inevitable complaining or negative comments that can sometimes pop up when large families get together. But you know that there will always be someone in your family who won’t be happy with whatever you decide anyway!
3- Incorporate family traditions.
Whether this is your first or 10th time dining out on Turkey Day, find ways to make it special by bringing family traditions with you to the restaurant—or by starting new ones! Whether it’s beginning the meal by having everyone talk about what they’re thankful for or by placing family photos around you on the table, there are many ways to create fun traditions that will give everyone that warm family feeling we crave on holidays.
4- Discuss the check beforehand.
Things can get a bit tense around the dinner table if no one’s discussed who’s picking up the check. Some restaurants have limits on how many credit cards you can use to split a check, so sorting out the bill for large groups can be challenging. Find out what the restaurant policy is and plan accordingly. Decide how you’ll split the bill or whether you’ll need separate checks from the start. Don’t ruin a pleasant dinner by arguing about how to pay for it at the end.
5- Collect comments.
A day or two after the meal, send a thank you email to everyone who attended and ask if there’s any feedback for next year. If this is a new family tradition, their comments can help you figure out whether it’s worth continuing or give you ideas about how to change things up for next year.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?