Time-Saving Tips for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving will be here before you know it and you’re probably planning to gather with family, friends or neighbors. Here are a few things you can do ahead of time to prevent last-minute stress and welcome holiday guests with open arms into your lovely Pardee home.
Decide on a guest list.
Whether you’re planning a grand holiday or a quaint homey gathering, decide who you want to invite to share your meal. Invite guests two to three weeks ahead of time. Send traditional invitations by mail or in person, or opt for eco-friendly and easy email invitations.
Create your menu.
Once you know how many guests to expect, plan a menu. Pull out those classic recipes passed down from generation-to-generation, or check out crave-worthy sites online and food bloggers on social media for new ideas. Be sure to include the turkey, sides, drinks and don’t forget dessert!
To save some extra time in the kitchen, assign dishes to your guests to split up the work. After all, you have hosting duties to take care of (not to mention cooking the turkey). Allow anyone who offers to help to do so — assign side dishes, appetizers, pies or drinks. Choose a few friends to help with cleanup and setup duty to make your post Thanksgiving meal a breeze.
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.
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? Being prepared ahead of time will save you time the day of — and prevent that last-minute trip to the grocery store.
Decide on décor in advance.
Use sites like Pinterest to search for ideas and bring your holiday vision to life. Having a decorating plan in advance will make setting up much easier. 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 canvas panels at a craft store and paint them with chalkboard paint. Provide chalk so kids can be create masterpieces on their placemats.
Set the table the night before.
Now that you have your décor in mind, you can get started on tablescape ideas. Setting a warm and welcoming table may be one of the most memorable parts of Thanksgiving. Set the table the night before for a head start on the big day. Choose colors that complement the overall décor and add finishing touches like eucalyptus and fall flowers to bring the look together.
Decide on cutlery.
Seasoned Thanksgiving hosts know that having the appropriate cutlery makes the day run smoother. Will you use your fine China or opt for low-maintenance paper plates and plastic forks and knives? Whatever you decide, be mindful of setup and cleanup time for both and have a plan before Thanksgiving Day. The most important thing is that you have enough cutlery (and extra) for all your guests and their children.
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.
Some meal items easily lend themselves to prior preparation. Think dinner rolls, turkey stock/gravy, stuffing and even pies, can be made ahead and stashed in the freezer until turkey day. 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.