Hosting Thanksgiving dinner is not something to be entered into lightly! It requires careful planning and lots of help. Not everyone is disciplined enough to have a mental timeline so follow the tips below to prepare for the big event. The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving will be more relaxing and the meal itself will be more enjoyable.
Step 1: Begin planning in early November. If you hosted Thanksgiving dinner in the past, recall what was successful about it and what should be changed. Make plans for this year and create a to-do list, then delegate some responsibilities to others. Get out the recipes and begin shopping for ingredients, taking advantage of pre-Thanksgiving sale prices at the grocery store.
Step 2: Two weeks before Thanksgiving, check the china, silverware, serving trays and utensils, and other supplies. Make sure the Thanksgiving tablecloth and cloth napkins are cleaned and wrinkle-free. Create a decoration plan for both indoors and outdoors.
Step 3: At one week out, review the recipes that will be prepared and make sure you have all the ingredients. Plan the cooking schedule, taking into account that everything may not go smoothly. If possible, plan to cook the turkey and stuffing and prepare the mashed potatoes the day before Thanksgiving. This way, the items can just be reheated on Thanksgiving day, saving time and reducing stress.
Step 4: Four days before Thanksgiving is the time for housecleaning. Have the entire family pitch in for dusting, vacuuming, and scrubbing duties. Contact guests who will be bringing children and ask them to pack some toys, movies, and games to occupy the kids on Thanksgiving.
Step 5: With just two days to go, it is time to decorate the outside and inside of the house. This is another project with which family members can lend a hand. Also, make or purchase the Thanksgiving table centerpiece.
Step 6: One day before Thanksgiving, make sure guest room beds are made and fresh towels are available for guests staying overnight. Set up the beverage station and set the Thanksgiving table, decorating it with the centerpiece and some candles.
Step 7: On the big day, either prepare or warm up the turkey and other food, delegating duties to family members as needed. Be dressed and ready before guests arrive so you can greet them at the door.