5 Thanksgiving Fails and How to Avoid Them

Thanksgiving is a time of celebration and gratitude, when you bring together your family and friends to appreciate what is truly important in life. What could possibly go wrong?

A lot, actually.

Increased food handling and travel activity comes with increased risk of Thanksgiving mishaps. Steer clear of the following Thanksgiving fails with these tips.

Thanksgiving Fail: Unprepared for Food Preparation

You thought your aunt’s weird casserole would be your biggest obstacle to avoid, but, in reality, food prep is the first of many potential Thanksgiving mistakes to clear. Sharp knives and peelers can cause some nasty cuts.  

Avoid the fail: Did you know sharper tools can actually be safer? It’s true. Sawing at a squash with a dull knife only increases your chances of a mishap. If you do nick a finger, apply direct pressure until the bleeding stops. Then clean the area with warm water and soap, and apply an antibiotic ointment under a sterile bandage. If the cut is especially deep or won’t stop bleeding, see a doctor.

Thanksgiving Fail: Afflicted by Food Poisoning

Improperly prepared food can lead to food poisoning, and it’s no surprise that a holiday with so much emphasis on food can lead to an uptick in cases. 

Avoid the fail: A meat thermometer is an inexpensive way to help prevent Thanksgiving fails caused by food poisoning. Simply check your turkey frequently as it roasts to ensure it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Another way to prevent an undercooked bird is to roast it in the oven, which, according to the Mayo Clinic, is your safest option. Grilling and deep-frying are frowned upon, mostly because these methods increase the likelihood of the outside of the turkey being cooked, but the inside not reaching a safe temperature. Perhaps unsurprisingly, microwaving your turkey is also considered unwise. 

Thanksgiving Fail: Fired Up Fire Risk

When you combine multiple dishes, a hot stove and the possibility of foods being left unattended, you increase the risk of fire.  

Avoid the fail: Follow smart fire safety practices in your home, including having a fire extinguisher on hand as well as a working smoke detector. Practice basic caution by not leaving cooking food unattended, and make sure potholders and other flammable objects are at least 3 feet away from burners. Now is also a good time to make sure you know where the kids are — stoves and small children do not mix! 

If you or a family member suffer a burn, hold the burned skin under cool (not cold) running water, or immerse until the pain subsides, then cover with a sterile, non-adhesive cloth or bandage. (The old wives’ tale about applying butter? Save it for the rolls.) Of course, if the burn is more severe (large blisters, or if the burn penetrates deeply), see a doctor immediately.

Thanksgiving Fail: Driving Dangerously

Surprisingly, New Year’s Eve doesn’t take the prize for most auto accidents — Thanksgiving does. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, almost 90% of travelers go over the river and through the woods during Thanksgiving weekend. That’s a lot of people on the road — 50% more than usual.

Avoid the fail: Check your forecast and prepare accordingly if road conditions have a chance of deteriorating. And whatever you do, do not drink and drive. It can be tempting to have that extra glass of wine at dinner, but it’s not worth risking a drunk-driving incident; drunk-driving incidents spike over Thanksgiving. Finally, take an extra second and put on your seatbelt — always.

Thanksgiving Fail: Thwarted by Theft

If you and your family are traveling for Thanksgiving, now is the time to think about protecting your empty home. Robberies tend to spike over holidays.

Avoid the fail: Make sure doors and windows are locked, and consider installing a timer for your lights to make it seem like someone is home. Place your mail and paper services on hold and, if you have a trustworthy neighbor, let them know to keep an eye on the place while you’re gone. And please don’t post your vacation plans on social media; you never know who’s really seeing your posts.

Most importantly, remember the things that matter. An extra ounce of caution can go a long way toward making sure your Thanksgiving is the safe, relaxing holiday it’s meant to be.

Keep Your Future Failsafe

For a little extra help protecting the things that matter, talk to your Farm Bureau agent today. They can help. (But not with your aunt’s casserole. You’re on your own with that one.)