Good Evening Inspiration Nation
I hope you had a wonderful weekend and are ready for the big week ahead. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and I know many of you are feeling excited, anxious, or both. Whether you’re hosting for the first time, traveling to see family, or just enjoying a cozy day at home, there’s a lot to do and plan for this festive occasion.
That’s why I wanted to share with you some tips and tricks that I learned from my own experience and from some of the best sources on the web. These will help you prepare for Thanksgiving like a pro and make the most of your time and energy.
Tip #1: Finalize your guest list and menu
The first step to a successful Thanksgiving is to know who’s coming and what you’re serving. This will help you determine how much food to buy, how to set up your table, and how to accommodate any special dietary needs. If you haven’t done so already, reach out to your guests and confirm their attendance and preferences. You can also ask them to bring a dish or a drink to share, which will lighten your load and add some variety to the menu.
Speaking of the menu, you should have a clear idea of what you want to cook and how you want to cook it. Choose recipes that you’re comfortable with and that suit your taste and budget. You can also mix and match some traditional and non-traditional dishes to spice things up. For example, you can serve a classic roasted turkey with a cranberry-orange relish, or a smoked turkey with a spicy barbecue sauce. You can also experiment with different sides, salads, and desserts that showcase seasonal ingredients and flavors.
If you need some inspiration, check out these amazing Thanksgiving menus that cover all sorts of tastes and dietary restrictions.
Tip #2: Make a shopping list and a timeline
Once you have your guest list and menu finalized, you can start making a shopping list and a timeline for your Thanksgiving preparations. A shopping list will help you avoid forgetting any ingredients or supplies, and a timeline will help you organize your tasks and avoid last-minute stress.
To make your shopping list, go through each recipe and write down the ingredients and quantities you need. Don’t forget to include items like salt, pepper, oil, butter, and other staples that you might already have in your pantry. Also, add any non-food items that you might need, such as napkins, plates, utensils, candles, etc. You can use this handy Thanksgiving shopping list template to make sure you don’t miss anything.
To make your timeline, start from the day of Thanksgiving and work your way backwards. Write down what you need to do and when you need to do it. For example, you can write down when you need to buy your turkey, when you need to thaw it, when you need to brine it, when you need to roast it, etc. You can also write down when you need to make your side dishes, desserts, and drinks, and when you need to reheat or serve them. You can use this helpful Thanksgiving timeline planner to guide you through the process.
Tip #3: Do as much as you can ahead of time
One of the best ways to save time and energy on Thanksgiving is to do as much as you can ahead of time. There are many dishes that you can make in advance and freeze or refrigerate until the big day. For example, you can make your pie crusts, cranberry sauce, gravy, stuffing, casseroles, and breads ahead of time and store them in the freezer. You can also chop, peel, and wash your vegetables and herbs and store them in the fridge. You can even roast your turkey a day or two before and reheat it on Thanksgiving.
Doing some of the work ahead of time will not only save you time, but also free up your oven and stovetop space for other dishes. It will also make your kitchen less messy and more manageable. You can find some great make-ahead Thanksgiving recipes and tips here.
Tip #4: Delegate and ask for help
Another way to make your Thanksgiving easier and more enjoyable is to delegate and ask for help. You don’t have to do everything by yourself, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. You can ask your guests to help you with some of the tasks, such as setting the table, carving the turkey, serving the food, or cleaning the dishes. You can also ask them to bring some of the dishes, drinks, or decorations, as mentioned earlier. This will make them feel more involved and appreciated, and it will also make your job easier.
You can also delegate and ask for help from outside sources, such as grocery delivery services, catering companies, or restaurants. You can order some of the food or supplies online and have them delivered to your door, saving you time and hassle. You can also order some of the dishes or the whole meal from a local caterer or restaurant, saving you cooking and cleaning. You can find some of the best Thanksgiving delivery and takeout options here.
Tip #5: Enjoy the day and be thankful
The last and most important tip is to enjoy the day and be thankful. Thanksgiving is not only about the food, but also about the people and the memories. Don’t let the stress or the expectations ruin your mood or your gratitude. Focus on the positive aspects of the day, such as the delicious food, the warm company, and the festive atmosphere. Don’t worry about the minor details, such as the burnt rolls, the spilled wine, or the awkward conversation. Remember that nothing is perfect, and that’s okay.
Also, don’t forget to express your gratitude to your guests, your hosts, and yourself. Thank them for being there, for helping you, and for sharing the day with you. Thank yourself for doing your best, for trying something new, and for making it happen. You can also take some time to reflect on the things that you’re grateful for in your life, such as your health, your family, your friends, your work, etc. You can also share your gratitude with others, by saying it out loud, writing it down, or sending a message.
Gratitude is not only good for your mood, but also for your health, your relationships, and your happiness. You can find some of the benefits of gratitude and some ways to practice it here.