Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year? Hosting and cooking this great family-oriented meal is both exciting and rewarding, but it can also bring out a lot of anxiety and frazzled nerves. If Thanksgiving seems daunting, these essential Thanksgiving organization tips will hopefully make it less so.
Ten Tips for Thanksgiving Organization:
- Make as much ahead as possible. Possibly the most stressful part of a meal is the last-minute rush. One of our favorite tips for Thanksgiving: When you’re planning your menu, look for dishes that can be made ahead of time and just re-heated the day of. Even if you can’t make an entire dish ahead of time, look for ways to peel off pieces, like toasting nuts or breadcrumbs. Check out this example of a Thanksgiving Cooking Schedule.
- Don’t experiment with new recipes. Thanksgiving is all about the classics, so stick with the tried-and-true. Leave your brain free to deal with the turkey (especially if it’s your first time).
- Start early on your non-food prep. It’s not just the food that needs to be prepped. You’ll most likely be pulling out the nice serving dishes that need to be washed, extra silverware, or cloth napkins. Pull out all of these items the week before and take inventory. There’s nothing worse than not being able to find the serving platter for the turkey or being short on napkins or utensils.
- Consider making the turkey the day before. Sure, you can make rolls and cranberry sauce days ahead. Casseroles can sit in the fridge before baking. But if you really want to prep, consider making the turkey ahead of time. Even if you just cook it half-way and finish cooking it the day of, this will be a huge time saver.
- Have a cocktail (or wine) ready to go. Have wine chilling in the fridge or a pitcher of sangria ready to be poured. If everyone has a drink in their hand, they won’t care if dinner is served an hour later than you planned.
- Don’t make a big deal over appetizers. Thanksgiving is a huge meal! Don’t stress about appetizers. Ask someone else to bring one, or just put out some store-bought crackers and dip or a veggie tray.
- It’s fine to buy parts of your meal. Know a great bakery? Buy a pie. Hate making gravy? Buy some from a specialty grocery. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with buying a few pieces of the meal, especially if it makes for a more relaxing day.
- Make a timeline and master list of everything that needs to happen. Write out a timeline list and stick it on the fridge or wherever you’ll see it. Setting alarms on your phone for key moments, like putting the turkey in the oven or re-heating the casseroles, really helps as well.
- Don’t forget about you! Make sure that you schedule time for yourself to primp, shower, or just take a moment before dinner. Taking this time (maybe while the turkey is in the oven) will get you re-charged and ready to enjoy time with family even more.
- Relax, have fun, and enjoy the spirit of the holiday! Remember people are there to visit and enjoy each other’s company. Don’t feel guilty asking for help, remember the turkey can rest for an hour while you finish everything else, and above all, find moments of gratitude in this holiday.