preparingIt’s the beginning of November, and you’ve made the decision to host Thanksgiving dinner this year at your home for family and friends.  Now you need to begin preparing for this festive occasion.   The more time you allow for planning, the less stress you will have to enjoy the day.

There is much to do to get everything ready on time – cleaning the house, putting up the decorations, planning the meal, & shopping for ingredients to name a few.  But where do you begin?

Lists, lists, lists!  The magical word that will make things happen.  Lists are an important part of planning, and to make them effective, schedule all the tasks in your planner.  Below are some points to consider as you develop your plan.

  • Decisions – Make decisions early on about who to invite, the time you will serve dinner, what you will serve, and what dishes your guests can bring. This allows for ample time for you and those bringing dishes, to shop for ingredients to get the best deals and save money.
  • Clear the clutter – Do you have piles everywhere? This should be first on your list. Once you have de-cluttered your spaces, your existing stress level will decrease dramatically. Then you will be able to organize your kitchen to prepare the meal to meet your scheduled serving time.
  • Receiving guests – Is your home ready to receive your guests? Are you behind on cleaning?  Is there room for everyone invited to have a place to sit and eat?  After you clear your clutter and organize your spaces, make cleaning the next step.  If your carpets need a good cleaning, now is the time to schedule a time to clean them, either by a carpet cleaning company or to do it yourself.  Determine where your guests will enjoy their meal.  If you have adequate seating in your dining room, great, if not, an option would be to bring in extra chairs and tray tables.
  • LeftoversLeftovers are great the day after the feast. If you have more than your family will consume, you can freeze many types of foods.  Another option is to send some home with your guests.  Zippered plastic bags and containers work well for leftovers and it’s not necessary for your guests to return them to you.

Another key point to planning is to involve your family to help. After all, you are only one person and this is a lot to take on all by yourself.  They can participate in the preparations by putting up decorations, cleaning, and even help with preparing the food the day before.

Family and friends that will attend, but that don’t live with you can help by coming over early that day to help with the meal preparation, or by preparing their favorite dish to bring that day.

Much laughter and camaraderie can occur as you all stir, chop and sauté with your favorite people.  The end result to all of your planning will be a festive, stress-free day with your loved ones, bon appetite!