Submitted Date 10/10/2019

16 Smart Steps & Tips To Help You Be Prepared For Thanksgiving

Do you desire to have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends? With Thanksgiving, only a short time away, now is the time to plan for the occasion! Here are sixteen smart steps and tips to help you be prepared for the holiday!

Who Will be Coming? – In order to prepare for the holidays, you will need to have an idea of who will be coming. Your holiday will look differently if you only have five coming as compared to twenty. So, take the time to make contact with family members and friends you plan to invite.

Planning the Thanksgiving Menu – The Thanksgiving menu may change from year to year, or it may stay the same. In our home, we always cook a turkey and smoke a ham. Think about what you will be cooking as your main course. Then, what veggies will you be serving for the holiday? Also, what other sides would you like to add, and which breads? You can plan for a basic menu, to begin with. Then, include a few extra recipes you would like to cook if you have time – but they are not necessary if time becomes short.

Delegate Thanksgiving Responsibilities – When you know who will be coming and the menu, you can lighten the load by delegating responsibilities. If you have twenty people coming, then having five people prepare desserts can help lower the stress of hosting. Other duties can include family members cooking loaves of bread, making salads, bringing drinks, and the like.

Checking Kitchenware & Tools – Take a look at your kitchenware and tools. Count the plates and cups you will need if you go with glassware. Some families will buy high-quality disposable plates instead – this will cut down on the number of dishes to do after the holiday dinner is done.

Moreover, what tools and appliances will you need for the holiday? Do you have all of them, or do you need to borrow? In our home, I use several crockpots to do the veggies. And, then I use specific pots and pans on the stove for potatoes, gravy, and stuffing.

Do you have enough roasting pans and bakeware for the holiday meal prep? Please make a list of items you are in need of so you can secure them before time.

Creating Your Shopping List – Once you know how many people are coming and who will be doing the cooking of other dishes, you can create your shopping list. Buying some extra food items is a great idea as well for those unexpected guests. Buy additional canned veggies, fruits, and pumpkin. Include needed spices and baking supplies in your Thanksgiving shopping list.

Clean Out the Freezer – A few weeks before Thanksgiving, take an inventory of your freezer foods. Are there foods you need to plan into the menu before Thanksgiving? Having plenty of space in the freezer is a must for planning a big holiday dinner. Moreover, remember, you will need freezer space for the holiday meal prep.

Prep Foods Before the Holiday – There are many ways to prep foods before the holiday to make Thanksgiving Day easier. One Thanksgiving holiday tip is to test new recipes ahead of time. This way, you will know the recipe is delicious and works well for your holiday menu.

Prepping and freezing some dishes ahead of time is a great way to cut down on meal prep on the day of Thanksgiving. You may be pondering what items you can cook ahead of time and freeze. Some ideas include homemade stocks, gravies, rolls, and pie crusts. Cookies, muffins, and some appetizers can be made ahead and frozen. Cooking soups ahead of time and freezing them will also save time. Pies can be prepared a few weeks ahead of time, placed in the freezer, and cooked the day before Thanksgiving.

Schedule of Events & Activities – Review any family activities you would like to include during the Thanksgiving holiday. If there will be lots of children, delegating the planning of events to a family member will help. Keeping the children busy while adults are cooking in the kitchen will help lower the stress of meal prep. If the weather is beautiful in your area, then outdoor activity is an idea. Moreover, have a back-up plan for indoor activities in case of bad weather.

Thanksgiving Decorations & Planning – Some families go all out when it comes to decorating for Thanksgiving. This can include making a Thanksgiving wreath for the front door, placing table decorations as well as a garland in the home. Decide how you would like to decorate for the Thanksgiving holiday and make a plan. Keep it as simple as possible if you wish.

Cleaning the Home – Plan a day or two to clean the home right before the holiday. Make a list of effects you need to accomplish ahead of time so you don't forget anything. Now is the time to contemplate about a top to bottom house cleaning – before Thanksgiving sneaks in.

Preparing for Guests Staying Over – Will guests be staying over in the home? Are their sleeping areas ready for them? Decide where guests will be sleeping and whether you need extra towels and linens.

Thawing Ready Made Foods – A day or so before Thanksgiving, you can start thawing ready-made foods. Place cooked desserts out to thaw – or place in the fridge if needed. Retrieve gravy and any ready-made casseroles from the freezer – put them in the refrigerator to thaw. Be sure the turkey is thawed in time for cooking on Thanksgiving – if needed, thaw in a sink of water following proper thawing directions. Bake any items from the freezer which need baked.

Thanksgiving Day Cooking Tips – If you used the smart steps and tips listed so far, then Thanksgiving Day cooking will be a breeze. Create a cooking plan which works best for you to place the finishing touches on meal prep.

For our family, in the morning, I put all the pots and pans out I will need on the stove. I add canned veggies to the crockpots and place them on low. Then, the turkey and ham are pulled out to ready for cooking. Then, when the turkey goes into the oven, and the ham is on the smoker, I get started on any last-minute to-dos.

Thanksgiving Dinner is Served!

By following these smart steps, you can have a wonderful holiday dinner with family and friends. Remember, to create a guest list, delegate responsibilities, and plan your holiday menu. Then, check your kitchenware, tools, and appliances. Create a shopping list, clear out the freezer, and prep some of the menu items ahead of time.

Decide or delegate family and children activities. Purchase or create Thanksgiving decorations, clean the home, and prepare for guests. Thaw Thanksgiving foods as needed in the days before Thanksgiving. Finish up your cooking sessions on the day of Thanksgiving. Finally, enjoy a special holiday meal with family and friends!

Barbi Green


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