Monday, November 19, 2012

Six Tips for an Easy Countdown to T-Day


Depending on your holiday plans this week, today is the day you might be getting your turkey out of the freezer to thaw, or labeling your pie plate or casserole dish to take to someone's house. 

Thanksgiving 2006. My biggest hosting gig, yet I still had time
to snuggle with my littles.  :)

In the past I have been a happy hostess, having as many as thirteen adults and eight kids including my own newborn, and other times as few as three adults and two kids. My view of hosting Thanksgiving is a bit like childbirth. I tend to underestimate at the outset how much hard work is involved in the labor, and then mysteriously forget everything about it after it's over. Thus, my first sentence above about taking your turkey out today... It all depends on the size of the bird, I guess, and I always have to Google just how long it is supposed to take per pound. 

So, if you are hosting the feast and need some encouragement, here are a few little reminders to make everything flow smoothly this week. 

1) Get all of your serving pieces out. 
Find the bowls & platters and the forks & spoons. Now is the time to realize your gravy boat is holding decorative soaps in the powder room, not Thursday morning. One thing I find helpful is to put a sticky note or even the recipe card into/onto the dish that I'll be using to serve whatever it is (and then add the serving utensil). Not only does this help me think through how many dishes I'll need, it can also be handy when company comes and wants to know what they can do to help. 

IF you are ordering pies or breads, go to the bakery today to get the best selection. Waiting until Wednesday might mean that you don't get what you want.

2) Plan something for the kids.
If you will have kids at your celebration, download some crafts or games that they can do while the adults are occupied. Construction paper turkeys and pilgrim hats are also fun and easy, or use paint & Q-tips to make a pretty fall tree. If the kids are older and the weather cooperates, consider setting out a football or other sports equipment to encourage time outdoors. If you're not sporty, you can plan a nature hike or scavenger hunt in the wild instead. Check out this fun printable from Bloom Designs.


3)  Wash your linens.
Not only do you want to have your tablecloth(s) and napkins ready, but think about hand towels for the bathroom and kitchen dish towels. Have more than enough. Along the same lines, be sure to stock the bathroom with plenty of whatever you might need: toilet tissue, hand soap, feminine hygiene products, air freshener or a candle, and maybe even antacids and painkillers (just keep them way out of reach of children).

4) Get your table decorations ready.
If you haven't decorated for Thanksgiving already, or you want to ramp it up for the big day, consider a pretty table setting. It doesn't have to be expensive to be beautiful. In fact, the most lovely and memorable place settings are often small and pulled together. A bouquet of fall flowers split into smaller vases set along the table, votive candles on a runner, or tea lights on a dish of acorns would all make very cute and affordable table decorations.

5) Set the table.
For the events I host at work, the caterer always pre-sets the tables. It makes things run so much smoother, and that's with waitstaff! If you are having a sit-down dinner, then on Wednesday night you may want to set a plate, napkin, utensils, and drinking glass at each place. For a buffet, you can set up the plates near where the food will be served, with a basket of utensils (perhaps wrapped in the napkin) here or at the end of the line, and create a station for drinks.

6) Prepare any make-ahead dishes.
Many dishes can be made and held over. Wednesday night is the perfect time to get these out of the way. Order a pizza or other take-out for your Wednesday night dinner, and start cooking! This is also the day to make any last minute trips to the grocery store or bakery.

Have a wonderful day counting all your blessings! 

Hopefully this list will help you to feel less stressed. Let me know in the comments if that is the case, or leave your own handy tips to encourage someone else.

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Thanks so much for commenting! I love to read what you have to say. ~Carrie


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