Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year. I love it because it kicks off the holiday season. We usually have between 20-30 people at our house for Thanksgiving dinner and I LOVE it. We start the day off at home sleeping in, sipping coffee, watching the Macy’s Day Parade and eating breakfast sandwiches (so random). It is really a relaxing day and that is because I prep a lot in the days and weeks ahead of time. I thought I might share some of the ways I prep for Thanksgiving without getting overwhelmed.
Make a list and check it twice: I hosted our first Thanksgiving our first year of marriage (11 years ago) and never stopped. I have a list of who brings what dish, what I bought, how much I bought, and different cooking times and temps. I keep a running record of what I need to do and when (a month ahead, weeks ahead, and days ahead).
Ask people to bring things: I know that if my mom comes I ask her to bring the stuffing (often replicated but never duplicated), if Brandon’s mom comes she brings the homemade rolls (the BEST), my sister is good at picking out wine, my aunt makes desserts, my grandma puts together a veggie tray.
Shop in advance: At the beginning of the month I buy our turkeys (we smoke one) and ham. I also buy things like stock, cream cheese, cranberries, green bean casserole ingredients, and more ahead of time.
Cook and prep in advance: I make the cranberries, sweet potato casserole, and pies on Wednesday. I also make sure all veggies are prepped and ready to go the night before. I peel potatoes and leave in cold water over night and then cook, mash, and leave in the crock-pot on warm Thursday morning. Getting ahead is key to being able to relax and enjoy company on the big day.
Stations: I have different stations all around. An appetizer/snack area, a coffee/cocoa drink station, a place to put side dishes and Maddi and Guy help take coats. This helps people come in and put their dishes and belonging away and be able to come in and sit down and talk with each other. Plan this out in advance.
Chinet: Yep, paper plates. This makes clean up so easy. We use regular silverware but this has helped so much with clean up and ease.
Do you host Thanksgiving? If not, where do you go? Are you a black Friday shopper? One of my friends and her family eat Thanksgiving on Wednesday and then create a shopping plan and shop on Thursday afternoon through Friday. I am not a black Friday shopper (you better believe if I am shopping on black Friday it is online). What are your traditions on Thanksgiving? We have the TV in the “man-cave” on Football and Christmas music upstairs. Our elf usually comes back on Thanksgiving night as well. Another tradition we have on Thanksgiving is to walk around a park that is lit up with Christmas lights. I hope you have a great day, and I hope some of my ideas might be helpful to creating a “less stress” Thanksgiving at your home.