Friday November 17, 2017
Thanksgiving is supposed to mean slowing down and spending time with loved ones. But if you’re hosting dinner, it’s easy to get stressed out. Check out these tips for keeping your cool on Thanksgiving Day – and hosting a calm, heartfelt dinner!
- Plan your menu sooner rather than later. Thanksgiving will be here before you know it, and you need a plan of attack. Figure out what’s on the menu, and decide if you’d like your guests to bring something. Accept any and all offers of assistance. If people offer, just tell them what you need.
- Be organized. Plan and organize to make sure you don't find yourself with missing ingredients, a house that’s a mess, and three hours of cooking still to be done when your guests arrive. Make lists of everything you need to do, prepare a schedule for everything from cleaning to shopping to cooking, and write shopping lists before you head to the store.
- Clean & de-clutter. Make sure the kitchen is clean, the counters are clear, and all necessary equipment is ready. Check that all table linens are cleaned & pressed. Give the house a good going over.
- Cook in advance. Don’t try to cook everything on Thanksgiving Day. Create a timeline, and figure out what can be made ahead of time. Casseroles and gravy can be premade. Vegetables can be chopped and ready to cook. Almost everything – except the turkey – can be made ahead so you just pop it on the stovetop or into the oven.
- Set the table(s) in advance. As long as you don't have to worry about pets or small children destroying your dining room table, set it up to several days ahead. That way you won't be scrambling to find the best china that's somewhere in the basement; cleaning the dust off the wine glasses that are on that high shelf in the kitchen; and counting the flatware only to discover you don't have enough forks right before the first guest rings the bell.
- Offer drinks and snacks before dinner. Set up a bar or drink station in a room other than the kitchen. Make sure it’s stocked with everything so people won’t be traipsing into the kitchen. Tasty appetizers benefit the cook as much as the guests. They stay busy munching while you finish up in the kitchen! Try nuts, crackers and cheese, and crudité.
- Give people something to do. For children – and some adults - it seems like Thanksgiving dinner takes foreveeer to land on the table. Keep them occupied. Crafty projects or favorite movies. Taking the dog for a walk or a touch football game. Anything that will keep them out of your hair.
- Savor the moment. Before your guests arrive, take a deep breath and have a glass of wine. Enjoy the quiet before your house is invaded. Once your guests arrive, discard any worries about perfection. Remember that people who are always late will be late. People who are always picky will be picky. Enjoy yourself – and remember that everything goes back to normal tomorrow.