10 Time-Saving Tips for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving will be here before you know it. Here are a few things you can do ahead of time to prevent last-minute stress and welcome holiday guests with open arms, a twinkle in your eye and a spring in your step.

Decide on a guest list.

Whether a grand holiday or a quaint homey gathering, decide who garners an invite to share your meal. Invite them two to three weeks ahead of time.

Create your menu.

Once you know how many to expect, plan a menu. Pull out the recipes you will be using or peruse the web and food bloggers for new ideas.

Make assignments.

If Aunt Edna is famous for her bread stuffing and wants to bring it, let her! Allow anyone who offers to help to do so — assign side dishes, appetizers, pies or drinks.

Perform a kitchen audit.

Check your cookware, serving utensils and platters to make sure you’re equipped to go the distance. Do you have everything you need, like a big roasting pan, potato ricer or one of those gravy separators?

Inventory your dishes, silverware and glassware.

Make sure you have enough (borrow what you need if you don’t), and get them polished and cleaned before the big day. Don’t forget dessert plates and forks.

Clean out the fridge and freezer.

Do this as early as practically possible — aiming for a good week before Thanksgiving or sooner. You’ll need the space for ingredients, make-ahead dishes and to thaw the turkey.

Decide on décor.

Wow guests with simple, rustic displays like pumpkins and fall mums. Or find candles, vases and tablecloths if you are using them, and make sure they are clean and in good condition. If you are having a kids’ table, pick up 9 x 12-inch canvas panels at a craft store and paint them with chalkboard paint. Provide chalk so kids can be create masterpieces on their placemats.

Make a shopping list.

Take a look at your recipes and create a shopping list of all the ingredients you’ll need. Compare it against pantry items you already have. Purchase the non-perishable items and drinks several weeks in advance.

Thaw the turkey.

Thawing a frozen bird takes time and patience. Pick up a frozen turkey a week ahead of time, and thaw according to package directions. Place it in the coldest area of the fridge with a pan underneath to catch drips.

Prep ahead.

Some meal items easily lend themselves to prior preparation. Think dinner rolls, turkey stock/gravy, stuffing and even pies, all of which can be made ahead and stashed in the freezer. Cranberry sauce can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Appetizers like roasted nuts or a cheese ball also can be made earlier in the week. Check out our Pinterest board for more Thanksgiving ideas, recipes and inspiration.

Looking to host Thanksgiving in a fabulous new kitchen? Our New Home Specialists would love to help.

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