Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away and it is never too early to start planning for it. I am a firm believer that even a tiny-tiny bit of organization helps simplify the Big Day. Spending time upfront in preplanning and organization helps reduce stress and allows for more spontaneity later.
When is the best time to start planning for Thanksgiving?
Ideally, the first week of November is the best time to start lining out your Thanksgiving. After years and decades of hosting the family Thanksgiving, I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. I used to be wound so tightly and so stressed that everything wouldn’t turn out just right. Not anymore.
First, plan out the menu.
Brainstorm the entire wish list for Thanksgiving, from the turkey to the appetizers. Even write down the small items such as coffee, creamer, and butter. Write everything down. And I mean everything.
- Make sure you aren’t missing anything.
- Assign yourself the dishes you want to make.
- Confirm with guests the favorite dishes they want to make.
- Have a list ready of suggested dishes for guests who want to help out… yet aren’t sure what to bring.
- Highlight in pink everything that can be done ahead of time and highlight in yellow what others are bringing.
Next, plan out the timing schedule.
Do you realize how many dishes can be prepared ahead of time? Think about every single dish and its ingredients. Making roasted vegetables? Blanch them ahead of time so they are ready to go. Making appetizers with fresh vegetables? Cut them up the day before. You can even set and decorate the Thanksgiving table several days in advance.
- Get as many things done as possible as far in advance as possible.
- Realize if there are any missing ingredients before it becomes critical.
- Set a timer for key time periods, such as when to get the turkey in the oven.
- If guests arrive early, you will be less stressed about it.
- You will be more relaxed and therefore able to enjoy your guests and spend more time visiting.