It’s time to throw yourself into prepping for Thanksgiving so that when that amazing holiday rolls around the only stress you need to manage is the stress your family creates. Ha, I’m kidding!.. no, actually I’m not.
We’ll operate from the assumption that you’ll be hosting this grand feast. Perhaps you’ve done this for years and you feel disheveled and stressed every year or maybe this is the first time you’re hosting your very own Thanksgiving. Either way, planning will get you through and help you to really enjoy the holiday.
If you haven’t finalized your guest list by now this needs to be the first thing you tackle. You need to know the who, what, where, when of how this event is going down and you need to get it figured out asap. Will you be making the entire dinner? Do you think you’d be more comfortable with a potluck? What about wine or entertainment? Figure out if this is a one woman/man show or if you’re cutting everyone in on the action.
It’s time to start planning your decor. We all know that Thanksgiving is about food and family. That said, make sure your home is warm an inviting by kicking up the decor. How you decorate can set the theme for your event. If you want a nice formal dinner than your decor should reflect that. If you’re looking for a potluck extravaganza and everyone in their best fall sweaters then make sure your decor is a little laid back and encourages a more relaxed atmosphere. Read Thanksgiving Tablescapes for some decor inspiration!
Plan the Menu
This is where it’s important to know what type of Thanksgiving you’re hosting. If you’re doing it all on your own then your mode of attack is going to be different from what you’ll be doing if you’re hosting a potluck. And who knows, perhaps what you really want to do is a bit of a hybrid. If your cousin is famous for her pumpkin bars then perhaps you ought to ask her to bring those famous pumpkin bars to your shindig!
If you’re dead set on striking out all on your own then you need to sit down and start making a list. This needs to happen no later than two weeks out from the big day. Physically writing the menu down is going to help you really plan things out to a T. Are you doing a turkey or are you going rouge and making rib eyes? Write it down. What sides are you making? There’s always the obvious one like mashed potatoes, stuffing, salad. Write it down. Be as specific as possible when you’re writing them down. If your family goes goo-goo for cornbread stuffing then when you make you list write down cornbread stuffing. The reason you’re being specific is because when you’re done with this you then need to start writing down every ingredient to each recipe. This way you are better equipped to refrain from buying something you already have or forgetting something you need.
If you’re planning a potluck start buy making a list of all of your guests that you will be asking to bring a dish. Once you’ve got that sorted think about meals you’ve had with these people and decided who’s best equipped to bring what. If Uncle George makes killer mashed potatoes then don’t ask Aunt Marge to bring them. Tell Aunt Marge to bring wine. And make sure you give them their assignments as early as you can because that’s just respectful.
If you bought a frozen turkey get it in the fridge by the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Set it in a bucket, bag, or pan that will catch any dripping turkey goo. If you ordered a fresh Turkey pick it up by Tuesday. Tuesday is also a good day for chopping carrots and celery and all those things you need chopped. If you’re itching to get started now you can brown up some sausage for that cornbread stuffing and pop that meat into the freezer so it’s already prepped before. Take it out of the freezer on Tuesday, mix up your stuffing on Wednesday, bake it up on Thursday! There’s all sorts of tasks you can start tackling now in order to achieve a stress-free Thanksgiving! Any way you slice it just make sure to remember what the day is all about! Happy Thanksgiving, ya’ll!