Thanksgiving time is supposed to be about reconnecting with family and giving thanks. Unfortunately, sometimes the holiday can be extremely stressful, especially if you’re hosting a dinner or event at your home. From cooking and cleaning to accommodating guests and planning activities, the holiday season may not feel so joyful to you.
It’s common to feel pressured and worried about hosting a perfect Thanksgiving get-together, but you should be able to indulge in the fun too! Follow these tips to help reduce stress so you can enjoy the holidays as much as possible.
Make a Plan
Planning is indispensable when it comes to hosting a Thanksgiving gathering. Find out how many people plan on spending the holiday with you so that you can start calculating everything you’ll need. Having a rough estimate of how many people to expect can help you save money and time. You’ll have a better idea of how much food you’ll need, and you won’t have to make several trips back and forth from the grocery store. It’ll also give you more time to make seating arrangements and to buy or borrow more chairs and tables.
Making a plan will not only ensure that you meet the needs of your guests but also benefit you and your sanity. In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, your plan can keep you on schedule, ensuring you don’t forget to do something important. Remember to carve out time in your days for yourself—the holidays are special and so are you.
Know What You Need
Once you’ve established your plan, start thinking about what it is you want to make. Perhaps you can ask your guests if they have any meal requests or dietary restrictions. Even better, ask your guests to bring a dish of their own. That will take a huge weight off your shoulders and you won’t have to worry about being short on food.
But, of course, cooking is what Thanksgiving is all about. If you plan on making some of your favorite dishes, write down all the ingredients that you don’t already have in your kitchen. You’ll know exactly what you need so you can get in and out of the store and into your apron.
Start Your Shopping Early
Most people typically never worry about the grocery store running out of what they need, as they’re always restocking throughout the day. On Thanksgiving, that’s not the case. Picture wild turkeys running all over the place trying to find their special cranberry sauce or stuffing—that’s not something you want to be involved in. Luckily, shopping early can help you avoid long lines and unnecessary stress. Before stores get busier, start buying non-perishable foods like a frozen turkey, baking supplies, and canned goods early. Then, a couple of days before you start preparing your dishes, you can run to the store to grab whatever else you need.
In the meantime, you can jump-start the cooking and decorating process. You can make smaller appetizers and hors d’oeuvres to store in the refrigerator, and even start marinating your delicious turkey. Perhaps you’ll put up the Christmas tree or a fall wreath up. Whatever you do, by starting early, you can accomplish plenty of Thanksgiving prep.
Practice Makes Perfect
Another pro to starting early is that you’ll have time to experiment with new recipes. For example, if you’re planning on trying to make your grandmother’s pumpkin pie dish, and you’ve never done so before, you’ll have time to change up the recipe if it’s not to your liking. You’ll also get a clearer idea of how much food you’ll need to make to feed your guests.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Share your Thanksgiving chores and cooking with your family. Working as a team to get things done faster will be a rewarding experience, and your family will certainly create memories they won’t forget. If you have children, task them with picking up their rooms and the bathroom. Allow them to be your little helpers by setting up the table, making place cards, and decorating cookies.
If you forget something, call someone in your immediate family or a close friend to stop by and grab it before showing up. Don’t be hesitant about taking stuff off your plate and putting it on someone else’s—after all, Thanksgiving is for sharing.
Use a Buffet-Style Set-Up
Make your life easier by using a buffet-style Thanksgiving meal set-up. You won’t have to worry about serving people, so you can sit back and enjoy your meal alongside your loved ones. Plus, it’s Thanksgiving—surely people will go back for seconds! Not only will it be a gorgeous focal point in your home, but it will also provide an avenue for your guests to chat.
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