If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, you’re probably in the midst of preparing your home for the big day. In addition to the usual cleaning and tidying, there are some other things you can do to make sure your home is ready for guests. First, take a look at your furniture and make sure there’s enough seating for everyone. If you need to add chairs or pull out sleeper sofas, now is the time to do it. You’ll also want to make sure there’s plenty of space for people to move around freely. If your dining room is on the small side, consider setting up a buffet in another room so people can serve themselves and then find a seat. Finally, don’t forget the little things like making sure there are enough toiletries in the bathroom and stocking up on snacks and drinks that everyone can enjoy. By taking care of these details in advance, you can relax and enjoy Thanksgiving with your friends and family.
There are a few things you need to do to make sure the day goes off without a hitch. First, you'll need to come up with a menu and make a shopping list of all the ingredients you'll need. Then, you need to plan ahead for thawing and roasting your turkey. And finally, you'll need to coordinate with your guests on what side dishes and fixings they're bringing. With these 12 tips, you can make your Thanksgiving holiday a success.
1. Plan Your Menu
It’s always a good idea to plan your Thanksgiving dinner menu several weeks in advance. That way, you have plenty of time to shop for ingredients and make sure you have everything you need on hand. And it also gives you time to try out new recipes if you’re feeling adventurous. Sure, you can always fall back on the tried-and-true Thanksgiving staples like turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, stuffing and green bean casserole. But many families like to mix things up with dishes from their specific cultural backgrounds, vegetarian dishes, dishes for family members with allergies and food sensitivities, trendy dishes and so forth. So take some time to peruse your cookbooks or favorite food websites and plan an unforgettable Thanksgiving feast.
2. Write Your Guest List
The holidays are a time for family, friends and good food. If you’re hosting a holiday gathering, it’s important to think about who will be in attendance. Will it be the usual suspects? Or are you inviting new friends and neighbors? Knowing who will be at the table can help you plan the menu and seating arrangements. Of course, you’ll want to make sure there’s something for everyone to eat. If you have dietary restrictions in your family, be sure to accommodate them. And if you’re hosting guests who don’t know each other, try to seat them next to people with similar interests. By taking a little time to plan ahead, you can make sure your holiday gathering is a success.
3. Clean Out Your Freezer
If you’re like most people, your refrigerator is already packed to the gills with food in preparation for the holiday season. But what about your freezer? While it may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re thinking about holiday cooking, having some extra freezer space can be a big help. That’s because there are a number of dishes that can be made ahead of time and frozen until they’re needed. Gravy is a perfect example. Making a big batch of gravy in advance and then freezing it in small containers means that you’ll always have some on hand when you need it - no last-minute scrambling required. So if your freezer is looking a little bare, now is the time to stock up. Your future self will thank you!
4. Shop Ahead
There’s no need to break the bank in order to serve a delicious Thanksgiving dinner. With a little advance planning, you can save money on both non-perishable and perishable items. Start by making a list of everything you’ll need for the big meal. Then, check your pantry and fridge to see what you already have on hand. This will help you avoid buying duplicates of items you don’t need. Next, take advantage of sales on non-perishable items like spices, canned goods and grains in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. And if there are certain ingredients that you can only find during this time of year, make sure to stock up so that you have enough to last until next Thanksgiving. By following these simple tips, you can enjoy a stress-free holiday meal without blowing your budget.
5. Prepare Make Ahead Dishes
One of the most stressful parts of Thanksgiving Day is the cooking. Endlessly basting the turkey, peeling potatoes and roasting vegetables can take hours, leaving you little time to enjoy the company of your guests. However, by shopping ahead and cleaning out your freezer, you can take some of the stress out of the day. Prepared dishes can be popped into your newly cleaned freezer for as long as two months, ready to be pulled out and cooked on Thanksgiving Day. This will give you more time to enjoy the holiday with your friends and family. So go ahead and start your holiday shopping early this year- your future self will thank you!
6. Create a Cooking Schedule
One of the most difficult aspects of cooking any meal is getting everything on the table at the same time. Review your Thanksgiving recipes and create a cooking schedule that breaks down the meal's culinary challenges day by day and hour by hour. Some dishes, like pies, cakes, and sauces, can be cooked a day or two before Thanksgiving. You'll need to start prepping other dishes, like the turkey, several days in advance; a large bird needs to be thawed in the refrigerator for about 24 hours per four to five pounds of meat. The night before Thanksgiving, cook any side dishes that can be reheated, like mashed potatoes or stuffing. Then, on Thanksgiving Day, start early in the morning with the turkey. While it's cooking, prep any side dishes that need to be made fresh, like green beans or cranberry sauce. Set the table and warm up the side dishes, and your feast will be ready in no time! By following this schedule, you can ensure that everything will be cooked to perfection and ready to enjoy when it's time to sit down and give thanks.
7. Figure Out Who’s Bringing What
Delegating some of the cooking to your guests can make the holiday more manageable. Get together with guests in advance to decide who’s bringing what side dishes, desserts, and fixings. That way, you can cross those items off your list and focus on preparing the main course. And if you’re really feeling stressed, there’s no shame in getting a head start on the cooking by ordering some dishes from a local restaurant or catering service. Whatever you do, remember that hosting Thanksgiving is supposed to be fun. So try not to get too bogged down in the details. After all, your guests are there to see you, not your perfectly roasted turkey.
8. Taste Test New Dishes
Trying out a new recipe before serving it to guests is always a good idea. You never know how it’s going to turn out until you make it yourself. This is especially true for holiday meals, when you want everything to be perfect. Making the dish ahead of time will also give you an opportunity to see how long it takes to make and whether it’s really worth the effort. If it’s too complicated or time-consuming, you may decide to stick with a tried-and-true favorite instead. So don’t wait until Thanksgiving to try out that new recipe – test it out ahead of time and be ready for anything on the big day.
9. Plan the Seating Arrangement
Veterans of large Thanksgiving gatherings know that one of the keys to a successful holiday is a well-planned seating chart. By taking the time to map out where everyone will sit in advance, you can avoid the last-minute scrambling that can often lead to hurt feelings and hurt egos. Of course, creating the perfect seating arrangement is easier said than done. In addition to taking into account personal relationships, you also need to consider things like food preferences and allergies. However, with a little careful planning, you can create a seating chart that will please even the most difficult of guests. So instead of leaving the seating arrangements to chance, take control of the situation and plan ahead. Your guests will be glad you did.
10. Deep Clean Your Home
Deep cleaning your home before Thanksgiving can help you relax and enjoy the holiday, knowing that your house is clean and presentable. A quick once-over the day before is all that's needed if you've already deep cleaned a few weeks in advance. If you procrastinate and try to deep clean everything the day before, you'll be rushed and stressed, and your house will likely not be as clean as it could be. Plus, you'll miss out on valuable time with family and friends. So save yourself the hassle and deep clean your bathrooms and kitchen a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving.
11. Prepare for Overnight Guests
When guests come to stay, you want them to feel at home. After all, your home is their home away from home. But getting guest bedrooms dusted and cleaned up, with fresh bedding on the beds and fresh towels in the bathrooms, can be a daunting task. Depending on how many guests are staying over, you may need to plan to put some people on couches or air mattresses. The most important thing is to make sure everyone is comfortable and has everything they need. So take a deep breath and get started on making your home guest-ready.
12. Give Your Home a Last Once-Over
The day before Thanksgiving is always a busy one, but it’s important to take the time to give your home a last once-over before everyone arrives. Start by dusting, sweeping or vacuuming common areas like the living room, dining room and kitchen. Then, take a few minutes to tidy up any clutter that may have accumulated over the past week. Finally, prepare your kitchen for the big meal by washing dishes, putting away any non-perishable items and cleaning the stovetop and counters. Don’t forget to clean the bathrooms too – put out fresh towels, stock up on toilet paper and give the floors a quick sweep. By taking care of these chores in advance, you can relax and enjoy the holiday with your loved ones.
You've got this! If you follow our list, you'll have your house ready in no time and can relax and enjoy the holiday. Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for all of the blessings in your life. We hope your home is filled with laughter, happiness, and love this Thanksgiving season.