The holidays are sneaking up on us. How are your Thanksgiving plans coming along?
If you’re one of the many people who see Thanksgiving as a major stressor—relax. You shouldn’t overdo yourself. Just follow some simple steps to reduce your Thanksgiving stress.
Map out your strategy. Write down your plans for Thanksgiving Day, and then work backwards to give yourself a “To Do” list. Here are some suggestions:
- Once you’ve determined your guest list, decide on the menu. Don’t complicate it with too many food choices. Limit the number of side dishes, salads, and breads. Also, minimize your appetizers so people don’t fill up before dinner.
- Calculate the amount of turkey you’ll need; 1 to 1 ½ pounds per person is average. You might also consider cooking two smaller birds, side by side.
- Calculate the time for thawing the turkey. You’ll need about 24 hours per 5 pounds of turkey to thaw in the refrigerator (which is highly recommended for food safety).
- Make a grocery list so you have everything in your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. No one wants to deal with a grocery store the day before Thanksgiving.
- Plan the seating and make sure you have enough chairs and place settings.
Hand out the assignments. Planning and executing a holiday celebration isn’t a solo task. Let your family and friends chip in. They’re probably quite happy to feel useful.
- Keep your menu handy. When people ask what they can bring, give them a specific item on your list, and be sure to make a note of the person who will bring it.
- Enlist help for non-food-related tasks, like helping with clean-up, wrapping up leftovers, entertaining kids, or bringing chairs (which should be done at least a day before).
- At least three days before the dinner, remind each person what they’re bringing. Don’t assume they’re going to remember—or, worse yet, have a change of heart and decide to bring something else.
Do as much prep as possible in advance. There will never be enough time on Thanksgiving Day to do all the cooking, table setting, serving, and cleaning you had in mind. When you get things done sooner, you have more time to enjoy your guests.
- Make and freeze mashed potatoes, side dishes, and even some desserts. Use your slow cooker to reheat the mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving Day, so you’re not tying up part of your stovetop.
- Place a serving dish and utensil for every dish the day before. Mark it with a sticky note so you’ll know what goes where—and can be sure you have all the servingware you need.
- Set the table the night before and cover it with a clean sheet.
Use shortcuts. Some tasks are worth your time and effort. Decide which ones those are.
- Refrigerated pastry crusts are a wonderful invention! They are easy to work with and taste great.
- Planning a pumpkin pie? Even the experts at the Food Network agree that canned pumpkin (not pumpkin filling) is every bit as good as fresh pumpkin, and it doesn’t require the time-intensive process of peeling and cooking!
- Ready-made, frozen rolls are delicious, and they take very little time in the oven.
- Forget about sorting through all those piles of “stuff” you’ve accumulated. Pack the clutter into bins and store them in your closet or garage until after the holiday.
All of us at Kettler Forlines Homes wish you a safe, happy, and stress-free holiday!