Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and accommodating your guests and keeping yourself cheerful and care-free can be a perplexing issue without proper planning. Here are some tips to keep your loved ones (and, most importantly, yourself) happy this Thanksgiving.
- Start with a plan. Keeping all your ideas and notes in one place will keep you ahead of the game when preparing the biggest feast of the year. With tablets, iPads, and laptops, keeping all your ideas in one portable place has never been easier. Call us old fashioned, but we still prefer a simple notebook and pen for holiday planning. Writing out your menu, recipes, and shopping list helps your mind wrap itself around the process mentally before you take on the big task in the kitchen. Plus, if things get messy, you won’t ruin expensive electronic equipment with grease and water spills.
- Cover Your Bases. Your plan should include not only the foods you wish to prepare, but also the housekeeping and personal preparations you need to get done before your guests arrive. These items include: cleaning the kitchen and preparing the serving dishes, vacuuming and dusting, setting out your outfit, and setting up your dining area to accommodate your guests.
- Keep Your Shopping Organized. Gathering all the supplies and ingredients to feed the masses can be an overwhelming task. To keep stress at bay, divide your shopping trips into two parts: one trip a week before to purchase all the non perishables (canned and frozen vegetables, pasta, crackers, flours, spirits, utensils, and baking supplies) and another trip a few days before the big feast to pick up fresh items (produce, dairy, breads, and pies). To keep the trip even more peaceful, hit the store during off peak hours. Early mornings before the big crowds hit are our favorite times to shop.
- Practice. The biggest, and arguably the most important, meal of the year is hardly the time to try something out of your range of comfort. Stick to cooking techniques and recipes you trust and know will turn out as you planned. If you’re experimenting with a new style or ingredient this year, give yourself an opportunity to practice the recipe a few days before. Make note of what went well and what can be adjusted for optimal results on the big day.
- Prepare All You Can The Day Before. Nothing dampens a festive holiday more than hastily throwing everything together the morning before your guests arrive. The day before is your golden opportunity to get a head start on the feast: bake all the breads and pies (this will free open valuable oven space the next day), set the table, arrange the cookware and serving dishes, and tidy the house. Anything that can be taken off your to-do list the day before, will make preparations on the big day much more manageable.
- Remember to celebrate. No matter how much planning and effort you put in, the holiday will lose much of its value if you’re spending it stressed and worried about the outcome. Remember to do your best and forget the rest. Thanksgiving is a holiday to enjoy with the ones you love. Instead of arguing with others over a difference of opinions or arguing with yourself about what you could have done better, take the time to reflect on what matters most to you. Thanksgiving is a time to focus your mind on your blessings, the things for which you are most grateful. Remember this above all else.
We hope you have a wonderful, stress-free Thanksgiving this year. Let us know your tips for keeping sane during the holiday in the comments section below!