Planning Thanksgiving dinner and preparing it can be very stressful, especially if you have a large family or are expecting a number of guests. In order to make Thanksgiving more enjoyable for yourself as well as your guests, some advance planning and preparation will work wonders. Use these tips to make your holiday a stress-free, memorable occasion:
10 Days before Thanksgiving:
A week to 10 days before Thanksgiving, make your guest list. If there are any friends or family members you have not yet contacted, do so now to give them and yourself plenty of time to prepare. If any of your guests will be bringing a special dish, add it to your menu.
If you will be cooking turkey, decide upon fresh, frozen, or smoked. Make sure you have room in your refrigerator and oven. You should plan on one to one 1/2 pounds per person and even a bit larger if you want plenty of leftovers.
Deciding upon your final menu should be completed at least a week before the big day. Consider the number of people you will be entertaining and if you have children on your guest list, try to plan a couple of special dishes or treats especially for them.
The Week of Thanksgiving:
The week of Thanksgiving is the time to stock up on necessary items from the grocery store. You can make certain items in advance such as bread or rolls and freeze them until Thanksgiving morning. Also make sure you have supplies such a napkins, cups, etc.
The Days before Thanksgiving:
A couple of days prior to Thanksgiving you can prepare a few items in advance to save time on the big day.
Things like cranberry sauce or relish can be stored in your refrigerator for a few days. You may want to cut up onions, celery, and any like items and store them in plastic ware to save time on Thanksgiving morning.
Make sure you have everything on your shopping list in your kitchen at least 2-3 days before Thanksgiving morning.
If you have children, involve them in the planning. They can help organize games for the younger guests, assist with decorations, and can even help out in the kitchen if you desire.
If you have purchased a frozen turkey, take it out of the freezer and place it in the refrigerator 3-5 days prior to cooking (depending on size) to give it plenty of time to thaw. If you will need to iron linens, etc., do so a couple of days before Thanksgiving to cut down on the amount of work you will have to do the night before the big day.
On Thanksgiving morning, make sure you have your thawed turkey stuffed (if necessary) and ready to place in the oven. Side dishes should be ready to cook or place in your oven and it would be a good idea to have desserts prepared the night before to save time and frustration on Thanksgiving Day. Any items you have frozen should be taken out of the freezer the night before so they can be heated easily.
With some advance planning and preparation, Thanksgiving can be a stress-free (almost) occasion and you will have plenty of time to enjoy the company of friends and family.
Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of The Wish Place. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.