Now that Halloween is over, it’s time to start thinking about our next holiday, Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving really does kick off the entire holiday season and it can be stressful if you don’t plan ahead. With our busy lives and schedules, it’s easy to “forget” about upcoming events. And, before you know it, Thanksgiving will creep right up on you!
If you host the annual Thanksgiving dinner, you want to start your planning now! By planning ahead you can ensure you will have stress-free Thanksgiving and actually enjoy the holiday with your friends and family.
Hosting a Stress-Free Thanksgiving
Plan as much as you can ahead of time. I know I keep saying that but it really is key. Start thinking about the following things:
- 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.
Next, 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.
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. I like to do this the day before so I have time to borrow items if I am short.
- 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.
Now the dreaded part, the cleaning. 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.
To help put this all together, I made a Stress-Free Thanksgiving Planner just for you! From the guest list to a blank November 2016 calendar, you have everything you need to make it through Thanksgiving stress-free!
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.
And to show your thanks this month, make sure you print out our 30 Days of Thanks!