The days are getting shorter, the leaves are changing color, and it’s time to start planning your upcoming Thanksgiving dinner. Whether you’re hosting for the first time or you’ve been doing it for years, there is always something new to learn about how to make this holiday meal perfect for you and your guests. Here are seven tips that will help you have a peaceful Thanksgiving dinner without all the stress!
Make a Plan Ahead of Time
To keep yourself from going crazy on Thanksgiving morning or making a last-minute run to the grocery store, take some time to write out a detailed plan. The plan should include the number of people attending, their arrival time and the meal time, a finalized menu, and what dish each person is bringing.
Have a Written Thanksgiving Menu
The worst feeling around Thanksgiving is realizing you need an ingredient from the store and then finding that the store doesn’t have it. That’s why you should finalize your menu no later than a week before Thanksgiving. Break down each recipe to make your grocery list and create a schedule of when you’ll cook each dish. Having something like a kitchen inventory sheet can also be helpful, so you don’t buy more than you need.
Don’t Be Afraid to Skip Sides
Just because it’s Thanksgiving, and it’s a tradition to have certain foods, it doesn’t mean you have to have them, especially if you’re the one doing the majority of the cooking. It’s ok to keep a limited menu and not overwhelm yourself. If someone really wants a particular dish, ask them to make it and bring it to share with everyone else.
Set the Table Ahead of Time
Thanksgiving is one of the biggest days for entertaining, so don’t rush it. If you’re hosting this holiday meal at home, take some time to set the table before everyone arrives. It will make everything go more smoothly and cut down on stress when people are arriving.
Don’t Try a New Recipe
There’s a reason why some recipes have been passed down from generation to generation. They are known for making Thanksgiving dinner awesome! Stick to recipes you’re comfortable with, and don’t experiment or take shortcuts. If your heart is set on trying something new this year, be sure to practice ahead of time.
Have a Backup Plan
The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry, so be ready for the unexpected. If you don’t have enough space in your oven to fit all of your dishes, or something is not working with any one dish, prepare a backup plan that doesn’t involve burning down the house!
Have a Cleanup Plan
Thanksgiving is fun, but it can leave some messes behind when everyone leaves. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when it comes to cleaning up at the end of the meal. Assign a small task to each person, and before you know it, your house will be back to normal. Whether it’s washing dishes as you go, loading dishes into the dishwasher, or having the maid come by on Friday, have a plan to get your house and kitchen back in order.
Depending on how your Thanksgiving goes, your cleanup may need to be rather in depth. Check out my post on decluttering tips to keep in the back of your mind. Just in case you ever need to use some of them.
More than Anything…
Have Fun! Thanksgiving is about being thankful for the blessings we’ve received throughout the year and celebrating our relationships with friends and family. Make sure that everyone knows it’s more about being together than anything else!
Have a wonderful holiday!