How to Plan a Stress-Free Thanksgiving Gathering

How to Plan a Stress-Free Thanksgiving GatheringPeople often say there’s no secret to a well-organized holiday gathering, but there actually is — planning every detail and planning EARLY! Now is the time to start planning your Thanksgiving meal and prevent the madness that ensues when you wait until the last minute.

What You Can Do Between Now and Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving dinner is the marathon of meal planning. And no one tries to run a marathon without plenty of training — not anyone who succeeds anyway. So, to avoid pooping out on the fifth mile, let’s start now.

  • Choose your recipes and beverages. Pull out the recipe box or Grandma’s favorite book and choose what you’ll be serving.
  • Make your lists. Even if you aren’t grocery shopping for a week or more, make your lists now. Check your pantry to see what ingredients you need to buy, and plan when you will be doing the shopping. Put it on your calendar, and may we suggest not the day before with all the other crazies!
  • Clean your oven. Nothing says “Welcome” like the warm smell of turkey and pumpkin pie baking in your oven. If you don’t want to usher your guests into a house filled with the smell of last month’s burnt-on salmon recooking in the oven, clean it!
  • Invite your guests! Decide what time you will be holding your festivities and let everyone know now. Be specific about arrival and eating times, unless you want Great Aunt Edna supervising your culinary skills beginning at sun up!
  • Set calendar reminders for important moments. Are you afraid you might forget to thaw your turkey in time or get fresh ingredients from a specialty store? Use that handy dandy phone to remind you. Make a list of things you might forget and make it foolproof with calendar or phone reminders.
  • Prep some of your dishes. Which dishes can you make ahead, and when will you make them? Put them in your planner and schedule your prep time now.
  • Design your table. What will you use as a centerpiece? Will you do place cards? Draw it out, and add any errands to your planner you’ll need to run to make it happen.
  • Declutter. Prior to the holiday is a great time to do some decluttering. Focus on clearing countertops, end tables, entryways and your main living areas.
  • Check your tools. Kitchen tools, that is. Do you have a whisk? A meat thermometer? Is everything in good condition and working order? A meal like this is a great excuse to properly stock your kitchen!
  • Create a cooking schedule. Look at your chosen recipes and determine your cooking schedule for the day. Don’t forget to factor reheating your pre-prepared dishes into the equation!

Thanksgiving Day

When the day arrives, you will have followed your trusty reminders and schedule and will have a well-stocked kitchen, all ingredients, some already prepared dishes, a fancy table set up and a plan for the day. Now, it’s time to:

  • Focus on the bird. We know it’s all about the turkey. Make sure you’ve got the perfect plan to ace the bird baking.
  • Follow your cooking and heating plan. Review your list frequently to make sure you are on task and schedule and not leaving anything out. Nothing’s worse than sitting down for the meal and realizing you forgot to bake the rolls.
  • Set up your table early. Get the table ready before you are elbow deep in sweet potato casserole. It will be ready and waiting to greet your family and friends when they arrived, giving the perfect illusion that you’re uber prepared – even if you’re actually experiencing minor traumas.
  • Enjoy the day. Hosting Thanksgiving can be stressful, but remember the significance of the day and what a blessing it is to spend time with family and friends.

As you plan for your perfect holiday, Errand Works is here to help! We can do grocery shopping, pick up details for your Thanksgiving table or tend to other weekly errands while you focus on your planning. Errand Works is licensed, bonded and insured.  Every errand runner must pass a Virginia State Criminal Background Check prior to being hired. Our Errand Runners are reliable and efficient and can ease that frantic feeling the holidays can bring. Contact us today to schedule your services!