You’re hosting this year, which means no flights, car packing or overpriced hotels. In exchange for the privilege of staying home this Thanksgiving, you will also be cooking, cleaning and managing a group of holiday party-goers this year. While there is no way to predict how smoothly your Thanksgiving will go, making these easy preparations will help you get your home ready for the event, and will keep you sane at the same time!
1. Enjoy the process
Grab a glass (or bottle) of wine, turn on your favorite playlist or podcast, and start planning! Making lists is a great way to get organized and see everything in one place, so start by writing (or typing) everything from gifts to guest-lists out in a single document. For some extra fun and focus, pop in a pair of Wireless Earbuds, and tune out any distractions with a cool beat. This will keep you on task, and also help you prioritize more time sensitive things, so that nothing vital is forgotten.
2. Plan your menu
While you are listening, make sure to write out what you plan to serve at Thanksgiving dinner. Think carefully about any dietary restrictions your guests might have, or shoot them a quick text or email to confirm their needs. Take this list to the store and make sure what you need will be available. If there is a product you can’t cook without, consider picking it up well in advance.
3. Create a cooking schedule
Thanksgiving dinner often comes along with a long list of meals leading up to the big day. If you try to do all this cooking at the last minute, you will certainly be overwhelmed. Create a cooking schedule that includes your meal plan, lists of ingredients you’ll need, and when each dish needs to be cooked. By breaking up each meal, you might even be able to get volunteers to help cook, and will certainly lighten the load on your own chef’s shoulders.
4. Write your guest list
Do you remember all the Thanksgiving invites you’ve thrown out in the past month? Do you know who your son or sister is bringing to the meal? Now is the time to nail down the guest list, to ensure you have enough food, space and time to prepare for guests. Remember, make a little extra for any last-minute stray guests, and don’t be afraid to cut off the guest list if it looks too lengthy. You want to ensure everyone has a place to sit, plenty to eat, and space to move around and socialize.
5. Figure out who’s bringing what
Asking friends and family to pitch in and bring a dish gives others a chance to showcase their cooking skills, while taking the pressure off the host to prepare everything for everyone. Keep a careful list of each guest and what they are bringing, to avoid overloading your table with potato dishes or pies, when what you really needed was wine and a simple cheese plate.
6. Check your heating system
Cold weather is coming, looking for a way into your warm home. Before it gets too cold outside, take some time to check your heating system. If your heating system isn’t going to cut the mustard for your Thanksgiving guests, it’s time to consider upgrading to a LP Furnace, for more reliable and comfortable home temperatures.
6. Organize kitchen cabinets
Consolidate things like coffee cups and silverware to ensure it’s easy to find, or even consider setting up a coffee or snack table elsewhere in the house, to lessen the number of people congregating in the kitchen throughout the day. Make pots, pans and cooking utensils as easy to find as possible, or get out the necessities and store them on the counter for easy access.
8. Clean your fridge and oven
Thanksgiving is all about sharing a meal, and as the host, you will have the first pick of all the leftovers. Clean out your fridge to make room for all the food that will be coming and going over the holiday, and scrub your oven to make a great impression on your guests. A cleaner oven means a faster bake, and cleaner food, not to mention the peace of mind of using a clean appliance, while a clean fridge is inviting and important to the health-conscious among us.
Hosting a holiday like Thanksgiving is a big responsibility, and it’s critical that we prepare for it. Take time today, before the hustle really begins, to prepare yourself mentally and physically for the upcoming busy season. And remember to enjoy the process of preparing, and don’t forget to throw in little welcoming touches like a welcome note or a small gift, to really delight guests with your hosting abilities.
By Uma Campbell
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