Your pre-Thanksgiving checklist

If you’re hosting a Thanksgiving get-together at your house this year, you may have your hands full between all the prep and cooking. But don’t worry—follow these steps before the big day and you’ll have an easy, breezy holiday with plenty of energy for some shopping the day after Thanksgiving! 

This week (November 8 – 12):
Tackle those home improvement projects. Have a squeaky door that could use some WD-40? What about a wood floor that won’t stop squeaking? Check out this article about fixing up the little things that can make a big difference when company comes over.

Plan your menu. Sure, the Thanksgiving menu is fairly straightforward, but perhaps this year you’re trying something new. At any rate, getting every menu item involving prep work on paper is helpful for organizing. Plus it helps you split the duty—you can take over the main duty of roasting the bird, prepping the stuffing, and so on, but feel free to ask your guests to bring side dishes! If an aunt makes a fab green bean casserole while a brother makes a delicious pumpkin pie, outsource the work and get some of the family to chip in.

Invite your guests. If you haven’t already, call or send out invitations to make sure your family and/or friends know when to arrive on the big day. If you’re asking people to bring sides, let them know then what you’d like and ask whether they can do it.

Order the turkey. Now that you know how many guests are coming, you can order the turkey. The rule is generally a pound of turkey per person, or a pound and a half per person if you want leftovers—and you do! If you’ve never ordered a turkey before, just call up your grocer’s meat department and ask if you can place an order for a turkey to be picked up the week of Thanksgiving. They’ll ask what size you need, take your name and give you a date for pickup.

The week before (November 13 – 19):
Test any new recipes. Trying something new—like a pumpkin cheesecake instead of a pie, or perhaps a cranberry chutney instead of a sauce? Take the time to try it out the week before. There is nothing worse than making a new recipe the day of a big event, only to have something go wrong or be unsatisfied with the result. If it works out for you, don’t change a thing! If you mess up, pinpoint where it went wrong so you can make it without fail next time.

Wash your table linens. If you use a tablecloth and set of napkins that have sat in a cupboard all year, take the time to run them through the washing machine, hang them after drying, and track down any strays. 

The week of November (20 – 23):
Get the guest rooms ready. If you have relatives who will be staying at your house, take the time to prep the guest room or the area of the house where they’ll stay. Wash extra sheets and blankets, set aside some towels and washcloths, and make sure they’ll have an area to keep their things out of sight of the main party.

Prep the day before. Once you have all your groceries assembled, get a head start by beginning your prep on Wednesday. You can make soup, dessert (though hold off on whipping the topping), mashed potatoes, your favorite cranberry dish, and more the day before. Especially with dishes that contain an assortment of flavors and spices, sometimes an overnight rest in the fridge can help the flavors mingle even better!

The day of (November 24):
Enjoy it! Yeah, it’s tough when the turkey’s running behind and the relatives are hovering around the already-crowded kitchen. But you’re the hostess, so grab that glass of wine or cider and put on a smile. Remember that when it comes down to it all, it’s a day to celebrate everything you’re thankful for—including your guests. They’ll take cues from you on how to act, so if you have a smile on your face and you’re (even if you’re just pretending!) relaxed, so will they!

Share your Day with Us! We’d love to see the end result of all your hard work so grab a camera (or better yet, put someone in charge of photos for the day!) and snap a shot of your Thanksgiving dinner table. You can upload your photo to our Vocalpoint Facebook page, and Tonya will create an album to show off all of the members’ hard work! If you haven’t yet joined us on Facebook, you can do that here. Do you have any prep tips for the weeks leading up to this holiday?

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