My first suggestion, is do what you need to do to make it easy for yourself. There is no reason to stress out when the holiday is about gathering with family and friends. It is a time to appreciate what we have and to celebrate our good fortune. Nowhere does it say it should be difficult for the host.
I totally believe that entertaining should be fun to do. Why do it if it is going to be difficult and you’re not going to enjoy the party?
Here are 6 tips to make your Thanksgiving STRESS-free.
Do all your grocery shopping a day or two before. You don’t want to have to run out at the last minute for things you’ve forgotten.
Go through your menu and identify everything that can be prepped or cooked ahead of time.
Do all the prep work a day or two before.
Chop vegetables and place them in a resealable bag with all the extra air removed. Keep them refrigerated and they’ll be perfect when you need them.
Salad and salad dressing can be prepped a day before as long as you don’t combine them until the last minute.
All the stuffing ingredients can be prepared before time and combined the day of.
Make as many things as you possibly can ahead of time.
Desserts can often be made a day or two before. If not, and you are making a pie, the crust can easily be made ahead of time.
A day or two before, start your gravy. Remove the gizzards and place them in a pot of water and let them simmer until you have a rich stock. If necessary, and it often is, add bouillon to strengthen the stock. Once the turkey is out of the oven take the drippings, remove the fat, and add that to the stock you’ve already made. Heat it and thicken it before serving.
Cranberry sauce can be made a week ahead and refrigerated until you’re ready to serve it.
Mashed potatoes are never made ahead in my home (my husband wouldn’t allow it). But they can successfully be made a day or two ahead of time. If it makes your life easier, go for it. I promise they’ll be good.
Take the pre-made, refrigerated mashed potatoes, bring to room temperature. Place them in a pot over medium-low heat, stirring often so they don’t scorch. Since the potatoes will thicken when refrigerated you will need to add heavy cream or half and half as you reheat them. Determine how much liquid to add as you stir and the mashed potatoes heat up and are reconstituted to the perfect consistency.
Get your home clean and ready for guests the week before the holiday. Set the stage, have out and ready everything you are going to use for the table: candles, flowers, table linens, platters, plates, glasses, silverware, etc. You do not want to be looking for things you can’t find or be washing dishes at the last minute.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’ve prepped everything, it is a lot easier to tell someone to set the table when everything is out and ready to go.
The only other suggestion I would make is to keep a smile on your face. It’s well known that smiling will improve your mood—fake it till you become it.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving and the time with your friends and family.
Here are some links to past posts and recipes you may find helpful.
This post was created prior to our site upgrade. Comments at the time of our upgrade included:
Gindy November 19, 2021
Your advice is very nuturing and inspiring! Wishing all of us and our families a very happy Thanksgiving!! —Gindy
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