TODAY   |  November 18, 2013

Don’t let Thanksgiving stress ruin your turkey day

At what age can your child spend Thanksgiving elsewhere? When’s the right time to crank up the Christmas music? Therapist Hal Runkel, actor Terry Crews, and author Jim Higley visit TODAY to answer all your Thanksgiving dilemmas.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> with a special holiday edition of our series when is it okay to. here to navigate the joys and the stresses of the season, how a licensed marriage and family therapist and author of scream free parenting, actor and former nfl player father of five and an advocate for fatherhood and men's health and author of bobblehead dad. happy almost holidays. let's jump into it. at what age is it okay to let your child, guy or girl, go have thanksgiving at someone else 's house.

>> no.

>> no.

>> no?

>> first of all, i say you have to be a grown man. if you're in my house you have to have dinner with us. you can't go anywhere else. you have to be. i'm paying for it the whole thing --

>> you have a 16-year-old boy or girl . they have a boyfriend or serious girlfriend and you wouldn't let them go over there.

>> with the boyfriend girlfriend thing, you have to be proactive and come up with a suggestion to get that boyfriend or girlfriend there for a short period of time, game night or something. not the whole thing.

>> the question, though, is until when?

>> yeah.

>> at some point i do want them to connect with another family. i want to recognize that they're supposed to launch out as adults and that's going to hurt eventually.

>> but, again, i really feel like if the family -- it's thanksgiving. it's a really special time.

>> would you let the girlfriend come to your house?

>> no, no.

>> we're about family. my family. let's move on. aunt sophie has the recipe for stuffing. she brings it every year. it's passed down generation to generation. problem is it tastes like she made it 100 years ago. how and when do you tell her to stop it?

>> awkward moment. my grandmother had alzheimer's so she made her famous coke cake but she made it with tab instead of coke. we're all eating it. it's terrible. thankfully she's the one that said who made this cake because she didn't realize that she had made it because it's terrible.

>> you have to be nice. you have to be polite but you do have to break it down. it's just not good. don't touch it. just let it sit there.

>> if she is 70 years old i wouldn't break her heart . you teach your kids. but also try to teach your kids to bring in new traditions in the family but encourage your kids to bring in new traditions they own as well to offset it.

>> eating out at a restaurant on thanksgiving?

>> all good.

>> all good.

>> the scene from a christmas story in a chinese restaurant . i did that once. it was a riot.

>> i do miss -- you do miss the home cooking .

>> the leftovers.

>> but you do make up for it. less fighting and arguing and everybody is less tired.

>> i love it at home but we have gone to a place here that people here on the show know very well. it's fantastic. it 's wonderful . here's the last one. this is dramatically controversial. when is it okay to start playing christmas music ?

>> while you are preparing thanksgiving dinner .

>> thanksgiving is the kick off?

>> i agree. we let the songs play and we're cutting up celery.

>> i agree. some people think 12 days beforehand but i go with right after thanksgiving.

>> day after thanksgiving. so not when santa arrives at the end of the thanksgiving day parade ?

>> i disagree. while you are preparing.

>> i immediately start the christmas music when i see santa round the corner and come into macy's. that's it.

>> the real question is when do you stop it, right?

>> you stop it the same day you put your christmas tree out.

>> yeah, right.

>> thank you very much. nice