Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and although most of us look forward to a big Thanksgiving feast with family, the prep work and festivities can feel overwhelming at times! It takes a lot of planning and patience to have a stress-free holiday. Here are some tips to make it a truly enjoyable season for everyone involved!
1. Get organized. As Meghan Trainor says, “All the right junk in all the right places”. A stress free Thanksgiving starts with a clean and organized home. If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, hire someone a week before to come in and least do the deep cleaning for you, or ask a friend to come in and help. Clean and organize your fridge, as well as your oven and kitchen areas. Put stray papers and knick knacks away so all of your prep surfaces are free from clutter. Wash linens for guests, and make sure necessities like toilet paper, paper towels, and toiletries are well stocked. You don’t want to have to make last minute trips to the store for your guests.
2. Plan your meals. We put a lot of emphasis on Thanksgiving dinner, but make sure your other meals are planned out for the week as well, especially if guests are coming into town. Make casseroles, or meals you can prepare easily. Don’t break your back slaving over fancy meals for your guests, because you’ll be on your feet enough on Thanksgiving day! Write down a menu and ingredient list for the week, and stick to it!
3. Don’t wait until the last minute. Start preparing now. Buy your turkey and all the trimmings ahead of time. You’ll be glad you did when the grocery store lines are a mile long next week!
4. Delegate responsibilities. Typically family and friends are happy to help. If you have a large guest list, ask Aunt Norma to bring the green bean casserole, and cousin Sally to bring games to keep the kids entertained. Ask each family/guest to contribute in some way and everyone will feel needed and appreciated, and you’ll feel less stressed. It’s a win-win situation.
5. Plan your menu. Pin down your guest list first. It’s key to know how many people you are cooking for. Figure out how you’re going to cook your turkey, how long it will take, as well as all the side dishes you want well in advance. Pinterest is a great tool for finding new recipes, but so is asking friends for their tried and true Thanksgiving side dishes! Consider having a Thanksgiving recipe swap party to share and try your favorite Fall recipes!
6. Budget wisely. Hosting Thanksgiving can easily become expensive. Asking everyone to bring something helps with this, but also make sure you have enough silverware, dishes, chairs, etc. to accommodate everyone. If you don’t, consider borrowing these items to limit your cost. Simplicity is key. Remember that your guests are there to spend time with you. We want our home to be welcoming, but that doesn’t mean it has to look like a Pinterest board or break our budget.
7. Make a plan for the kids. Adults are happy to just to sit and chat, but kids may need a little more direction with how to spend their time on Thanksgiving Day. You’ll be busy cooking, so make sure to designate another adult or older cousin/friend as caregiver/wrangler. Make sure the kids have activities, games and/or crafts to do to keep them busy while you’re busy.
8. Don’t forget the leftovers. Make sure you have plenty of storage baggies and take home containers on hand for leftovers. Sending your guests home with some leftovers frees up space in your fridge and ensures you’re not eating turkey until Christmas. It will also make clean up a breeze!
What are some Thanksgiving tips you would recommend? We’d love to hear from you!