Thanksgiving is one of the biggest family holidays of the year — and maybe the tastiest. Nothing compares to the post-dinner food coma and knowing you have enough for days' worth of breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the fridge.
Are you hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year? Hosting and cooking this big meal is a big milestone for everyone, but it can also be a time of some anxiety and tension. Hosting comes with a lot of responsibility and a long to-do list, but with the right amount of preparation, it can be a breeze. Thanksgiving dinners frequently involve potlucks, which is one of its charms. Allow friends and relatives to provide items, and don't feel guilty about assigning the meal's stressful tasks to others.
Take a deep breath. Get some paper and a pen. Figure out the following: How many people will attend? Where will the meals be served? How comfortable are you in the kitchen - do you have a recipe? If so, make them part of your meal.
When creating your menu, choose simple and trustworthy recipes. While it's fun to have a unique item in your meal, opt for a signature cocktail like a batch of cider cocktails instead of a filling recipe that requires odd ingredients and three days of preparation.
To make purchasing and storing easier, write a grocery list and separate it into perishable and non-perishable items. Purchase non-perishable goods a week or two beforehand; pick up some perishables the day or two before Thanksgiving.
For the turkey, you will need three-quarters to a pound of turkey per person. This will still leave you with a day's worth of leftovers. Buy the bird as early as possible and freeze it. For every four pounds of turkey, you need one day to thaw. Shop early if you're ordering your turkey online.
Take note of how many people are coming to your house, and how many are children. Prepare enough cutlery and cups in advance. Place yourself closest to the kitchen, and not necessarily at the head. It is best to separate the couple for a more active dynamism, but keep the young children between the parents. Bonus tip: Let lefties sit in corners so they have room to eat without hitting their elbows.
There is no sleeping in on Thanksgiving. Make a schedule, and stick to it. Most importantly, be ready up to an hour before your guests are scheduled to arrive.
Set the table the day before.
Not only will this give you peace of mind when everyone shows up at your house and your table is ready to go, but it’ll give you a chance to identify if you’re missing any cutlery, glassware, plates, etc. Then you can ask guests to bring some backups, or rent some (more on that later.) Most importantly, there are fewer things to think about during the actual day so you can focus on food, drink and spending time with your people.
And don’t forget to prepare every room in the house. Start your vacation with a clean kitchen - that means emptying the dishwasher and trash can. Arrange your litter box into more than one bag so that when one is full, you have a fresh bag ready to go. Take valuables out of the living room to save them from overly high-spirited kids. If coats and bags are going to be on the bed, cover the duvet and pillows with sheets to protect them from dust. Finally, light a candle in the bathroom - it's just a nice touch.
The holidays are all about being thankful for what you have - even if the turkey is burnt and the tablecloth is stained. Enjoy time with family and friends and jot down fun stories or Thanksgiving wishes to share at dinner next year.