Thanksgiving Day is right around the corner and with only less than one week left to prepare, you will need to get started right away. First things first, do not stress out. Okay, the first sentence might have pushed you a little too hard, but the sooner you get started the easier your life becomes as the holiday approaches. The more you get done now, the less you need to do later on, and the more likely you will be able to actually enjoy the holiday. With that said, here are some simple tips to help get you on the right track this Thanksgiving Day.
Get your menu in order early. Turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie are usually a good start for the main dish staples. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If no one really enjoys the green bean casserole, then skip it this year. If your guests usually gobble up the apple pie while the pumpkin sits and practically rots on the table, offer the apple pie instead and forget the pumpkin this year. There’s no hard and fast rule that traditional menu items must stay on the menu year after year. Thanksgiving is about what your family and friends enjoy, not what past traditions told you it should be. For any canned goods or frozen food items, buy them now. That last minute run to the store will eat into too much of your precious time. You will have no choice but make that last minute shopping trip for fresh items, but the less you need to shop for that day, the better off you’ll be.
Take shortcuts when possible. As you know, Thanksgiving is a big meal and everyone knows this, so give yourself a break. If there’s an opportunity to take a shortcut, by all means, do it! This also goes for the dishes. Who ever said that you must use your finest china at every holiday gathering, especially if you are the one washing the dishes by hand? Put an end to this madness and consider using disposable dinnerware and cookware. Loath washing pans? The same container that you cooked in should also be the one you serve the dish in to save time at the sink later on. Line your pans with aluminum foil for a much quicker cleanup. While you’re at it, there’s nothing wrong with cooking that oversized turkey in a sturdy foil roaster pan with those convenient helper handles. When it’s finished cooking, simply dispose of the pan. The feeling is so freeing!
Take the pressure off yourself. If someone offers to bring something, let them. There’s no shame in allowing a guest to contribute a food item or even a bottle of wine. The gesture will take some pressure off of you especially if you feel like you need to make everything homemade (which you don’t, by the way), let them make or bring something instead and it will be one less thing off your menu list to provide. If your guests tend to really like that canned cranberry sauce, serve it. There are many people who prefer the canned version to the homemade stuff anyhow and then there’s one less item to make. Consider heating up a frozen pie or order a fresh one from a bakery to shave off some time and effort.
Stress less and slow down. Seems like sound advice but it may be easier said than done. After all, Thanksgiving is likely the most elaborate meal of the year and can be a tough one to pull off, but you will. Not only will you pull it off but it is also going to be a great success! Stress Tip: if everything does not get done, so long as it’s not the turkey or whatever main attraction that is on your menu, no one will notice or care. With that said, focus on the turkey and everything else second. If the turkey comes out well and everyone leaves feeling full, you are a superstar – the end.
So go ahead, have your pie and eat it, too! This Thanksgiving, slow it down just a little, take advantage of any shortcuts that are offered and within your reach, and reap the giant rewards that come along with that. Enjoy it while you can. Christmas is only a short month away.