Follow These 8 Tips to Prepare For & Pull Off a Great Thanksgiving!
We are now less than two weeks away from Thanksgiving-for some this means traveling to visit relatives & friends, but for many it means that you’re going to be hosting a houseful of folks. Sure, it can be rewarding to oversee & lend your home over to guests, but let’s be honest, it’s a lot of work to prep. And the more folks you have, the more work it’ll be to prepare.
Since there’s still time, you can beat the rush by planning ahead and starting now! With some time to prepare & organize a plan, you can help pull off a stressless & headache-free Thanksgiving so you can actually enjoy it! We decided to share some great steps from Smart Savvy Living on how to make the most of your Holiday prepping:
1. Make Lists – I could totally make a long list about all the reasons I love lists. They help me stay on task and organized on a daily basis. For Thanksgiving I make several lists. Here are some examples:
- Create a list of your menu items
- Create a list of the recipes you want to use.
- Make a rough tally of how many guests you can expect and if you need to double or triple any recipes – too much is always better than not enough
- Create a list of ingredients I’ll need to make the recipes (this is important for later)
- Go through your pantry and make a list of ingredients you’ll need to buy
- Make notes of any allergy or dietary restrictions you want to try to accommodate
2. Shop Early and Purchase Extra – This is likely a no-brainer for everyone, but it can be easy to forget with a full plate and when the holiday sneaks up on you before you expect it. I always make sure to shop a few days before Thanksgiving to get everything I need and buy just a bit more than I think I will need. Plus, this lets you beat the mad rush of people shopping at the last minute and also ensures what you need won’t be out of stock.
3. Pull Out and Sort Ingredients You’ll Be Using – Nothing puts me behind more on Thanksgiving than searching for ingredients I rarely use, so I like to take a few minutes and pull out all the ingredients before I start cooking. This is also a great time to make sure all your spices, etc. are still good instead of finding out at the last minute you need fresh items.
4. Bring Out Your Serving Dishes the Night Before – This may sound odd, but I actually find that pulling out the serving dishes the night before and sorting them actually makes Thanksgiving less stressful. I’ve totally wasted precious time in the past searching for a dish that I could have sworn was in a certain cabinet or using a dish that was meant for a side for prep and scrambling to find another, etc.
5. Do As Much Prep-work as You Can the Day(s) Before – Many dishes can be made the day or two before the big day like side dishes, breads, pies and other desserts. All you have to do is reheat for a few minutes before the rest of the meal is ready, if needed. Others can be pre-made up to the point of cooking, like stuffing. You can also chop up all your veggies and put them into a container in the fridge (like for stuffing or salads).
6. Get Your House Ready a Few Days Early – Tidy up your house a bit, if needed. Perhaps buy some scented candles to help everyone be in the holiday mood. Have any decorations put out or ordered. Order any trays you may need for appetizers while cooking. Be sure you have plenty of clean linens and dishes for the day, as well as tables and chairs.
7. Have a Clean Up Plan – If you’re nice enough to give your guests leftovers to take home, be sure to have some foil containers, disposable plates or cheap plastic-ware for them to use. Have the dishwasher going with your prep dishes as you continue cooking so plates and platters from your meal can go straight in instead of sitting and becoming tougher to clean.8. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help – Last, but certainly not the least, never feel like you have to do it all yourself, especially if it’s your first year for hosting. Ask a couple friends or family members to come over and help you cook. Odds are they’ll love to help and you’ll all love the memories you create together for years. Request that guests bring a dish or beverage – this is especially helpful if your family has a number of allergies. I do like to delegate what my guests will bring as other wise you may have multiples of a dish or too much wine (is that possible?) but not enough dessert. Let guests actually help clean up when they ask, etc.