|My kitchen pantry door doubles as a chalkboard. I use it to plan out my meal and cross off items when completed.|
So, here we are.
Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away and it is never too early to start planning for it.
I am a firm believer that even a tiny-tiny bit of organization helps simplify the Big Day. Spending time up front in preplanning and organization helps reduce stress and allows for more spontaneity later.
After years and decades of hosting the family Thanksgiving, we learned what works and what doesn’t. I used to be wound so tightly and so stressed that everything wouldn’t turn out just right. Not anymore.
What does preplanning for Thanksgiving look like?
First, take some time planning out the menu. I like to brainstorm the entire wish list of Thanksgiving, from the turkey to the appetizers. Even write down the small items such as coffee, creamer, and butter. Write everything down. Everything.
Writing everything down allows you to:
- Make sure you aren’t missing anything.
- Assign yourself the dishes you want to make.
- Confirm with guests the favorite dishes they want to make.
- Have a list of suggested dishes for guests who want to help out but aren’t sure what to bring.
- Highlight in pink everything that can be done ahead of time and highlight in yellow what others are bringing.
Next, take some time planning out the timing schedule of the big Day as well as the days leading up to your meal. Do you realize how many dishes can be prepared ahead of time? Think about every single dish and its ingredients. Making roasted vegetables? Blanch them ahead of time so they are ready to go. Making appetizers with fresh vegetables? Cut them up the day before. You can even set the table several days in advance. It’s true.
Planning out the timing allows you to:
- Get as many things done as possible as far in advance as possible.
- Realize if there are any missing ingredients before it becomes critical.
- Set a timer for key time periods, such as when to get the turkey in the oven.
- If guests arrive early, you will be less stressed about it.
- You will be more relaxed and therefore able to enjoy your guests and spending more time visiting.