counting down to thanksgiving

It is hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is a mere 16 days away! I am hosting, so thought I would share a few tips and tricks. I have been responsible for holiday dinners since I was in high school. I somehow cooked Thanksgiving dinner with a sprained ankle. Several years later, I would turn on my oven only to learn it was broken – it still worked out.

  • Make a menu. Actually write it down. This will help you plan both your shopping and what you can make ahead.
  • Find your recipes. Print them out if you needed, or mark the pages in your cookbook(s)/magazine(s).
  • Create a shopping list. There are some things which you can buy in advance, and others which must wait. Try and buy as much of the non-perishable items ahead of time so that you aren’t overwhelmed when you go to buy your turkey and other fresh ingredients. I usually start picking up an extra pound of butter each time I go grocery shopping as you can always freeze it, if you don’t use it. I also start putting bread in the freezer for my stuffing.
  • Clean out your pantry. You may find some things on your shopping list, which will save you money and cross an item of your list. Donate items you aren’t going to eat before year’s end to your local food bank.
  • Clean out your fridge (and freezer). The truth is you will probably need room for the turkey and such, so cleaning it out now is better than trying to do it when you come back from grocery shopping.
  • Keep the items you will need to prepare Thanksgiving dinner in one place. This could include things like spices and non-perishables to the turkey baster and pans. Oh, and this is also a good place to keep your recipes. The pan you will use to cook the turkey works well. Just rinse it out before you cook the turkey.
  • Think about the table. Do you have enough plates, glasses, utensils, napkins? What about chairs? Decorations? Again, for the things you don’t use regularly, take them out, wash them, and set aside. Iron your linens. I bought these pilgrim place cards four years ago, and still need to find them.
  • Start cleaning. There will always be last minute cleaning to do, but you can start a deep cleaning of your home to make things easier for you on the big day. If it helps, break it down, and make a list.
  • Clean your oven. This is my least favorite chore, but it must be done. Just get it over with, and move on.

That should keep you busy for a while. I won’t lie, hosting Thanksgiving is a big undertaking. But if you plan ahead, you can pull it off and still enjoy time with your guests.

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