I am hosting Thanksgiving this year and the irony of it is that, while we're so busy at work trying to get everyone's home decorated before the holiday, my home is 100% not ready....and I'm an interior designer! I moved over the summer and we've done a good amount of settling-in but there is still so much undecorated and unfinished. But you know, that's just how it has to be for me this Thanksgiving. I'm too busy decorating everyone else's home to do my own! Oh well. While a beautifully decorated home is wonderful, I understand that the holidays are about family and time-spent together not necessarily about a perfectly decorated home.
All that to say, I've been trying to figure out the best way to prepare for the day little-by-little instead of stressing myself to the max the week of and waiting until the last minute to do everything. I feel like I may not be in this boat along because this article showed up in my inbox this week...as if maybe others are trying to avoid stressing themselves out too! Ha! So, today, with Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I thought I'd share some of the useful tips that were so graciously bestowed upon me this week in the hopes that it might help you have a happier, less stressful Thanksgiving day yourself!
Of course, at the top of the list for Kitchen/Food Prep is pre-make as many dishes as possible. But one other thing that I thought was wise was advice to clear off your kitchen counters of unnecessary items before the big day. This, while seemingly obvious, was a great reminder for me! So often, we want our homes to look perfect that we leave out all of the decorations but really, when guests arrive and food is put out, the pretty stuff gets shoved to the side. So why not save yourself the stress and pre-move all of the items that might get shoved in the corner last minute. That way the food (which, let's be honest, is the most important part) has a designated home as soon as it arrives!
Tip #2. Make room for the food in the fridge! On thanksgiving day, it always happens the same way. Guests all arrive at the same time and everyone asks you where they should put their food. If you haven't cleared out your fridge, you're scrambling to move and shift items while the chaos grows. So plan ahead. Throw out the small tupperware containers of leftovers that probably won't get eaten anyway, bring in a cooler or some other container for drinks, and leave lots of shelf space for the food.
As a secondary side-note to tip #2, clean out the dishwasher too! That way, once the meal is over, there's a quick place to stash all the dirty dishes without feeling like your kitchen is overflowing with mess.
Tip #3. Hire someone to clean your house. For the past events I've hosted, I've always cleaned my own home. I kindof like to wait until the last minute so it can be as clean as possible when guests see it. However, that's just not a realistic expectation this year. My husband (genius that he is), actually suggested hiring a service to clean our house this year before Thanksgiving. He knows how busy I am with your homes and knew cleaning would be hard to do along with all of the other prep so he told me to get someone else to clean my house (maybe he wrote this article and made it look like it came from another publication....lol!)...so that's what I'm doing. One more item marked off my list, one more step towards enjoying Thanksgiving day!
Tip #4. Appetizers. We all know Thanksgiving dinner is a feast. There's too much food and you can only eat a spoonful of each item (even though Aunt Ellen spent 2 hours preparing her dish), but it's sort of part of the enjoyment of the day. Appetizers do not have to be complicated. Appetizers need to be just enough to hold guests off until the main event. Maybe take it one step up from chips and salsa, but not too far. If you do, everyone will be full of the delicious appetizers before Thanksgiving dinner is even served. So keep appetizers simple. Have enough for guests to munch on but by all means, don't stress yourself out with a complicated dish.
Tip #5. Don't cook the entire meal. I learned a long time ago that the meal is more enjoyable for everyone if you're not cooking it all. While you might want to look like superwoman by making all the food, the truth is, you'll end up stressed and frazzled on a day that's supposed to be enjoyable. If guests offer to help with a dish, let them! They don't want to spend the day around a host that's stressed and they can put all of their energy into making their 1 or 2 dishes super yummy!
Enjoy this day. Thanksgiving comes only once a year, the food is delicious and it's a day off work! Make it a day to remember and don't sweat the small stuff. Life is too short (and there's too much good food to eat!)
From one Thanksgiving hostess to another. :)