Tips on surviving Thanksgiving: Be cheap and save space in your wardrobe

Written by By Kerry Clark

Mother Nature is planning to do the right thing this Thanksgiving and stay away.

Four health experts — including CNN Travel’s own Molly Jong-Fast — offer their tips on surviving Thanksgiving and your neighbor’s infamous cornucopia and ensure the sparkles keep on flowing during your next Halloween party.

It’s the ultimate conundrum. Do we meet our obligations or enjoy? Do we let the stress weigh us down or ease into them? Do we be loyal and stay mum to the embarrassment? The truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all plan, particularly when it comes to holidays. If you’re looking for a surefire tip, CNN travel contributor Kerry Clark is certain you’ll get it.

She says it’s about making healthier choices.

“I have an organization called ‘Eatclean.com’ that aims to let Americans know that they are eating some of the worst foods in America. I say to people, it’s OK to eat well and healthy and it’s still OK to eat holiday food. It’s never okay to overeat.”

Lamar County, Ohio, is the foodiest county in the country, according to a study on food security by Feeding America

To a certain extent, you have to pick and choose: “I actually don’t hate Thanksgiving,” says Clark. “Everyone will want to overeat and want to be part of the conversation and can provide an awesome soundtrack, but it’s about actually enjoying the experience.”

There are plenty of reasons to have a great time. Travel costs — not uncommonly high this time of year — are a top concern. But you don’t have to restrict yourself to a room in the Holiday Inn to enjoy the festivities.

Staying close to home is a smart choice. Credit: Shutterstock

With Thanksgiving on a Wednesday, it’s a wonderful chance to host or attend a dinner party at home.

Dining out is typically a better option during the holiday season but if the conversation is lacking, it’s best to gather the family and host a party at your place.

“You can have a party at your home so you don’t go out and eat so much,” says Clark. “In this day and age, there’s the best of everything — in the hotel, eating out, in the ballroom, at home — so it’s a great chance to get together with your loved ones and just enjoy each other’s company.”

Keep an eye out for costume parties. Credit: Alex Khill

It’s time to start coming up with your costume. A lot of people get really creative and make it look easy — especially when they’re having a potluck — but Clark says it’s important to be realistic.

“Don’t go overboard with your idea because if you do, there’s someone else there who doesn’t want to ruin the Christmas spirit. It’s really a playful thing, and it’s how we pay respect to the holiday spirit and not all of the negative stuff that is associated with the holiday.”

When you step out of the suit and into a Halloween costume, it’s best to take a few steps back.

“Just remember you’ve got to make the most of it. I definitely take a step back and think about how I want to express my creativity. My friend loves Margarita’s (a cocktail bar in New York City) and he goes crazy with his and the guys dress up all and its amazing.”

Speaking of Margarita’s, the Coney Island outpost now offers beer and wine . If you’re looking for something to drown your sorrows after all the family, remember that alcohol is the perfect antidote to everyday stresses.

“People go overboard with drinks, especially around the holidays,” says Clark. “If you’re making a plan, you should have one drink of your own. Just have a few of your own because you can enjoy the others and it’ll help you feel less hungover.”

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