UNITED STATES—Can you believe it? In less than a few days the biggest foodie day of the year will dawn on us: Thanksgiving. Yep, Turkey day has arrived and the chaos that comes with the most festive, loving and family-oriented day of the year has arrived in my opinion.

Food is just one of the headaches of the big holiday, the other being travel plans not to mention the chaos of having those guests come to your home. I love Thanksgiving for the mere fact that it’s the one time of year where it’s okay to pig out slightly. Heck, pig out all you want, you have the day after to relax and have that bellyache. Well most of us do anyway.

When it comes to traveling, plan ahead! Don’t wait till the last minute to travel unless, that is the only option available. I mean who seriously wants to deal with long lines at the airport, on the road, on the train and the bus station; it’s a given no matter where you go, plan to pack your patience because you’re going to need it. I say never wait to leave the day before Thanksgiving unless you have no absolute choice. Why not aim to eliminate some stress by getting an early day on travel if the calendar allows it.

Guests can be pesky, but when it comes to Thanksgiving we all make an exception. The one thing most of us never prepare for is the aftermath of the chaos. Cleaning the house is one thing, but can you imagine if you have to do all the work alone in the aftermath. Yes, it’s not something most of us welcome, but it does indeed happen on occasion. Cleaning up before the big festivities can be a pain, but the aftermath is always worse because those people who are to be around to assist are nowhere to be found, and I mean nowhere.

Make it a point to have everyone partake in helping keep the home tidy. Of course you don’t want your guests to be forced to have to work, but it doesn’t hurt to have them clean their plates upon eating and helping keep the trash load as small as possible.

The biggest stressor of them all: cooking! For those of us who love to cook, even a day like Thanksgiving can be absolutely stressful; in more ways than one can imagine. So what can be done to ease the stress? Plan ahead. Yep, you heard me, plan ahead. Don’t be afraid to get a kick start on prepping dishes 2-3 days ahead of time.

The worse thing one can do is wait till the absolute last minute to start cooking. Can you cook the big bird, the ham and all the sides on Thanksgiving Day? Absolutely, but in doing so you will be so BURNT out, that you will not be able to enjoy a single moment of the day. Trust me I’ve had it happen to me on more than one occasion and it literally left me flabbergasted not to mention sleep deprived.

Don’t be afraid to kick people out of the kitchen. From time to time, you have those secondary cooks who want to be in the kitchen, but aren’t really doing anything beyond standing in the way. Either make yourself useful or exit the region that is geared towards food prep only. To be honest, the prep work is what takes up an abundance of time when it comes to cooking. The turkey should be the last thing that is cooked, because no one wants to eat a cold, overcooked or dry bird.

Look at things this way; while Thanksgiving can be a day of chaos to some, it’s the one day of the year where we should absolutely reflect back on all the things in life that we should be thankful for. We should be thankful each day that we are living on this Earth, but for some reason we think more about it on this day than others.