My Top Tips for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving • We all know that Thanksgiving is an incredibly special holiday but it can also be equally stressful. Whether you are hosting, cooking, attending or just eating, we have a few tips to keep the day stress free, fun and memorable.
Have a Plan • Whether you are making the entire meal for a crowd, enjoying a small family gathering or ordering carry out, a plan is essential. Know what needs to be done the week before and the week of so that you aren’t rushing the day before. Thanksgiving is not a time to just “wing it.” My plan tends to be “by day” leading up to Thanksgiving, knowing what I can make ahead of time and an “hour by hour” schedule for the day of, knowing what needs to be done and when. Any time you spend planning ahead will provide exponential extra time the day of.
Ask for Help • This is the hardest one for me, but it’s important. Have guests coming? Let them bring something. Wine or appetizers are a great idea to outsource. Little hands or teens in the house? Let them fill water glasses, help with chopping / prep, set or clear the table and more. Many hands makes light work for the chef and host! (And, remember, people WANT to help!)
Feed them Early • We don’t typically eat our Thanksgiving meal until 3 or 4PM. With a house full of hungry bellies, I know that I need to have a plan for brunch or snacks so that I don’t get overwhelmed by the repeated question of “when is dinner ready.” I love making a large brunch board that can be prepped ahead and snacked on throughout the morning (see our Instagram or website for ideas). Small and quick appetizers are also great.
Set the Table Ahead of Time • Not only does a beautiful table set the mood for a wonderful meal but it’s great seasonal decor for your home, too. Mix textures and colors for a pleasing aesthetic. Doing it ahead of time also takes one more thing off of your “day of” to do list.
Plan for Serving Dishes • There are many things that I like to plan ahead for but the one that I find most essential are the baking and serving dishes. What food will you cook or serve in what dish? I like to write out my menu and lay out corresponding serve ware for each item. Even better? I sticky note each dish so I remember what I was planning to make in it or serve on it. No game time decisions on the big day!
Extra TLC for Little Hands and Bellies • Most households are likely to have kids present. And, you want the day to feel special for them. Cover your kid table in butcher paper and let them color all over it. Have a kid-friendly dessert or snack that they can help make. Lastly, how about an inexpensive, seasonal plate to serve their meal? Target often has cute options for less than $5 and the kids will love it!
Have a Personal Touch • Take a few extra moments to make the day special for your guests. I love to print up menus for the place setting as an extra touch. Personalized place cards are a fun and easy personal touch, too. No time for that? How about including a guest’s favorite side dish or dessert? Make it personal without making it more work.
Give Yourself Grace • Something will go awry on Thanksgiving Day. It’s important to remember that your family and friends are present, first and foremost, to spend time together. No one is expecting a perfect meal. Plan for a wrinkle in the day and stay calm when it comes. Give yourself grace!