Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thanksgiving Is On Its Way....

Thanksgiving is one of America's favorite holidays, and why not?  Most of us get two days away from work, there are no mountains of gifts and related debt to deal with, the weather is usually not too bad, we get to reflect and give thanks for what we have, and we watch a couple of nice football games.  And, we reconnect with our family.  What could be better?

If you are the one hosting the annual Thanksgiving fest, this may be a time of high anxiety.  There are so many things that could go wrong (even if they almost never happen), you spend an extreme amount of time worrying and sweating the small stuff.

Being told not to worry doesn't work, of course, so I won't do that.  I'll offer a solution... What you really need is a plan.  A written plan.  Having a plan in writing allows you to sit down and really think about what is needed and when it should be done.  There's something calming about putting it in writing and being able to check off tasks as they are accomplished.  Here are some pointers to keep you on track and ensure that your plan is a good one:

Your plan should include a list of your grocery items, including recipe ingredients and things such as aluminum foil, plastic wrap, paper plates for sending leftovers home with the guests and centerpieces, platters, tableclothes or decorating items.  Don't forget the ice.  If you are having turkey, plan on 1 pound per guest, and then add some if you want leftovers.

The timeline for buying everything you need, including groceries, should end at least three days before Thanksgiving.  In other words, you should not have to visit the store after the Monday before Thanksgiving.  And be aware that the weekend before Thanksgiving and every day after that until the big day means huge crowds at the stores, and crowds add stress.  Ideally you will visit the store at least a week before Thanksgiving with a complete list and take care of that chore early.

On Monday:
If you are planning on cooking a frozen turkey, Tom should come out of the freezer and go into the fridge on the Monday before Thanksgiving.
Give your house a thorough cleaning.
If you are using an ice chest for the ice, pull it out of the attic and clean it up. 

On Tuesday:
Iron your tablecloth and napkins.
Prepare things like cranberry sauce, relish, etc. and store in the fridge.
Prepare your veggies to go into the dressing or other dishes.  You can chop your onions, peel your carrots, etc. and store them in zip lock bags in the fridge.

On Wednesday:
Set your table.  Put out the candles, centerpieces, decorations, everything - as if guests will be arriving any minute.  Ask your family to eat in front of the television for one night.  They'll love it!
Make the desserts.
Before you go to bed, set out the pots, pans and bowls and dry ingredients that you will be using.  Arrange the measuring cups and spoons neatly on the counter.  The recipes should be in a prominent position.  Everything should be ready for you to jump right in as soon as you enter the kitchen on Thanksgiving morning.

If you have a written plan and stick to it, checking off every task as you go, you will find that your Thanksgiving is much less stressful and a lot more organized.  I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving this year!!

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