Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year? Last year, we had a fairly small and intimate Thanksgiving. It was just Kyle, myself, our daughter Squeaker, Kyle’s parents, and a family friend. I couldn’t have asked for more with hosting my first Thanksgiving and it went off wonderfully. My mom, on the other hand, hosts 20 people or more at her house on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. There’s a lot going on and I’m really not sure how she does it without losing her mind or sleeping. Maybe one day we’ll host more people at our house and in preparation for that day, I wanted to share four tips for a stress free Thanksgiving with you.
Plan as much as you can ahead of time. What will the menu include? Will you prepare the entire meal or will others bring food as well? Keep track of who will prepare and bring which dishes so you’ll know what needs to be cooked and you don’t end up with too many deviled eggs and desserts with no other sides.
Consider what you can do ahead of time rather than waiting until the week or day of Thanksgiving. Which of the dishes can be prepared in advance? Some things you might be able to do a few days or a week before the holiday include:
* Bake a cake and freeze the layers; you can take them out the day before to thaw and frost.
* Make a couple of pies and freeze them as far in advance as you can. As Thanksgiving Day arrives you can take the pie out, thaw it and heat it up. It’ll taste just like it was just made.
* Casseroles can also be made a day or so ahead of time. Prepare the casserole, place it in the refrigerator and then cook it on Thanksgiving Day.
* Take your turkey out in plenty of time for it to defrost safely in the refrigerator.
Ask family members who live within the same city to help prepare some of the food which no one plans to bring. For a family who lives further away, you may want to suggest they bring beverages. You may also ask them to come over to help you set up or put final decorations in place.
Another thing you can do to lessen the stress of a Thanksgiving dinner party is to determine how many and who will attend so you can plan seating for everyone. How many tables and chairs will you need? Will you have enough seating or will you have to borrow tables and chairs?
Place the tables and chairs so everyone has a seat. Decorate the tables and then put all the place settings out. Do you have a seating plan to ensure everyone is comfortable and family members who don’t get along so well don’t have to be seated next to each other? Put name tags at each seat so everyone knows where to sit.
If you’re hosting the Thanksgiving dinner party you want to be sure your house is cleaned. Ask your family to help pitch in to ensure at least the rooms guests will spend time in are clean. Rather than waiting to clean up, wash dishes as you cook. Enlist several people to help act as the clean-up crew after the meal.
Think about what you need and plan ahead to get your home ready for the party. Do as much as possible before Thanksgiving so you can enjoy the time you have with your friends and family. You won’t have to spend the entire day cooking or cleaning if you enlist the help of others.
These top tips for a stress free Thanksgiving dinner party can be actioned a few days ahead of time in some cases. The more you can plan and do prior to the day, the less stress you’ll be likely to experience. Remember to have fun and be thankful for those who have shared the day with you.