It’s no big secret that the Thanksgiving dinner isn’t the easiest holiday meal to prepare. But there’s no need to fret over the prospect of entertaining your guests for Thanksgiving.
Whether it’s your first time or twentieth time as hostess, there are things you can do to reduce the stress.
After all, this holiday is about showing and sharing gratitude with the people you care about. It’s not about spending the day slaving away in the kitchen.
Got that? Great!
Here are our 10 tips for a perfect, stress free Thanksgiving holiday dinner.
Manage your guest list: Make it fun by sending out cute Thanksgiving RSVP invitations, so you know exactly how many people to cater for.
Not enough time to send out printed invitations? Head on over to evite.com. They have some great electronic Thanksgiving invites you can send. Or you can create a Facebook group invitation.
Trust us, this will make everything easier. Planning your place settings, creating your menu, shopping and more.
Plan the meal: Once you know exactly how many people are attending, it’s time to plan your meal. It isn’t enough to just tell yourself that you’re going to have a selection of traditional dishes.
Get detailed and create a menu. Once the menu is set, pull your recipes together and create a master list of all the ingredients you need to buy.
By getting this detailed in the planning phase, you’ll allow enough time to cater for any special dietary or ‘must have’ needs. Plus, you’ll avoid the stress of having to make extra trips to the store for forgotten food items.
Try out new recipes: Are you super excited to try out that new cauliflower mashed potato dish you pinned on Pinterest? Well, avoid having a Thanksgiving Day disaster by trying the recipe ahead of time.
Perhaps prepare a half batch for your family to taste test, just to make sure it’s worthy of a place on your holiday table.
Prepare ingredients ahead of time: There are a lot of things you can make in advance to free up your time on Thanksgiving Day.
Stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy and even pie can be prepared the day before. Even if it’s just measuring out your ingredients. Every effort to spread out the preparation will save your time and your sanity.
Take advantage of genius time-saving hacks: We’re suckers for time-saving hacks like these:
- Clean large amounts of potatoes all at once, by running them through the rinse cycle in your dishwasher
- Use a wine glass to cut perfectly round cookies and biscuits
- Peel potatoes super fast by scoring them around the middle, tossing them in boiling water for 15 minutes, then dunking them into ice cold water. The skin will just come right off in your hands.
Clean the house a week in advance: There’s nothing worse than trying to tidy the house the morning of your Thanksgiving dinner. Do everything you can to avoid this because it’ll only lead to you pulling your hair out in frustration. You’ve got far too much to do on the big day as it is.
Also, don’t forget to clean out the fridge and freezer. You’ll want to have enough room for holiday groceries and leftovers.
Delegate tasks to guests: Does Aunt Janice swear she’s the only one who can make your great-grandmother’s sweet potato soufflé the right way?
Well it looks like Aunt Janice is your sweet potato expert. Have her make it.
Is your sister upset that Thanksgiving isn’t at her house this year? Then get her involved in decorating your home, setting the table and greeting the guests. You don’t have to do everything yourself.
Plan activities for the kiddos: You spend days planning your holiday meal. The kids eat their one piece of turkey, nibble at their potatoes and wolf down a biscuit in a hot second. But the adults like to slow dine, enjoying their second and maybe third serving.
What happens is you end up with a bunch of bored and rowdy kids who are waiting for the adults to ‘hurry the heck up’ and pay them some attention.
Avoid that whole scenario this year. Prearrange fun activities that will keep the kids entertained, while the adults continue eat in peace.
You could have them decorate turkey shaped sugar cookies and serve them to the table. Or they could color pre-cut construction paper leaves and write what they’re thankful for, to share with the table.
Remind others of the value of Thanksgiving: As much as Thanksgiving focuses on ‘the meal’ it’s important to remember why we get together in the first place. If your family is comfortable doing so, invite everyone to go around the table and share what they’re most thankful for.
If this isn’t your thing, then place a thanksgiving bowl at the front door. When everyone enters, get them to write down what they’re thankful for on a piece of paper and place it into the bowl. These can be read out later, anonymously.
Either way, you’ll have a fun time doing it and everyone will get the opportunity to remember the things that matter the most.
Take a deep breath and remember to enjoy the day: This tip, is the most important of all. Just because you’re the hostess doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to enjoy the day as much as your guests. Whenever everything starts to get a little crazy, just breath deep and smile. Oh and treat yourself to that extra glass of wine. You so deserve it.
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Image editing: Mena Joseph
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