It’s nice to sit down to a big Thanksgiving dinner. But as you get older, the cooking and cleaning can become more trouble than it’s worth. If you don’t have family nearby who can do the cooking for you, here are some ideas for how you can have a nice meal without all the fuss.
Go out to eat. You’d be surprised how many Kansas restaurants are now open on Thanksgiving Day, and they’re easy to find if you know where to look. Every November, Visit Topeka posts a list of restaurants that are open on Thanksgiving. The Kansas City Star also posts a list of open Kansas City area restaurants each year. Even if they don’t make the lists, a lot of chain restaurants (e.g., Bob Evans, Cracker Barrel, Denny’s, Waffle House) are normally open on Thanksgiving. So if you have a favorite local place, give them a call in advance. You can also find a handful of open restaurants in Lawrence and Olathe by making reservations on OpenTable.
Order a pre-cooked meal. If you want to stay home, but don’t want the burden of preparing a meal, you can order one that you, or a caregiver, can pick up and bring home. Several restaurants and grocery stores (e.g., Boston Market, Cracker Barrel, Hy-Vee, Price Chopper) offer meals that include a turkey or ham, sides, and dessert. And you can still make one or two of your favorites if you choose. The pre-cooked meals need to be ordered in advance (how far in advance will vary by establishment).
Buy something easy. If the fully-cooked meals are a bit too costly, or if you prefer to put something together yourself, make it easy. Buy an already-cooked turkey breast or ham that you can just heat up. Use canned vegetables, cranberry sauce, and gravy, and boxed stuffing and potatoes. Then buy a pie and some dinner rolls from the store’s bakery.
Be non-traditional. There’s no rule that says you have turkey and all the trimmings on Thanksgiving. Make a favorite meal that’s less time consuming instead.
Host a potluck. It’s possible that you have friends or neighbors who are also struggling with what to do for Thanksgiving. Why not invite them over for a potluck? Everyone can sign up to bring a favorite dish. Then open a bottle of wine and enjoy!