Every year, clients ask me how to avoid last minute chaos when they host a holiday. Here is a comprehensive list of to-dos for Thanksgiving STARTING NOW:
3 weeks before Thanksgiving
• Deep clean your house and purge excess clutter.
• Polish silver.
• Invite your guests. Consider using Paperless Post if you’re having a large group.
• Give specific assignments to guests who ask what they can bring.
• Prepare a dinner menu including wine, liquor, and soda.
• Prepare a grocery list based on the dinner menu.
• Think about table décor (e.g., flower arrangement(s), votives, small bud vases).
• Order the turkey.
• If you don’t have proper roasting tools (pan, rack, thermometer, basting tools, carving knife), buy them now.
• Order any favorite dessert items from your bakery (non-refrigerated items are best).
• Take an inventory of your serving pieces, dishes, silverware and glasses. If additional items are needed, purchase them now or contact a rental company to reserve. Don’t forget to include rental tables, chairs or linens, if needed.
2 weeks before Thanksgiving
• Shop for non-perishable grocery items (e.g.. frozen pie crusts, beverages, alcohol, canned foods).
• Make extra ice and store in Ziploc bags in your freezer if you don’t have an automatic ice-maker.
• Clean and press table linens or buy specialty paper products.
1 week before Thanksgiving
• Clear out what you don’t need in the refrigerator and freezer to make room for Thanksgiving dishes.
• Review all ingredients that will be needed to prepare the dinner, and confirm nothing was overlooked.
• Prepare guest rooms for overnight guests.
• Prep any items that can be frozen (pie crusts, soups, desserts).
• Select what you will wear.
2 days before Thanksgiving
• Prepare a turkey and food time line; counting backwards from your meal time goal. Add an hour for downtime before your guests arrive.
• Pick up all specialty orders from butcher, bakeries, or caterers.
• Prep as many ingredients as possible and prepare menu items like cranberry sauce, soup, turkey brine, and any other side dishes that can be made in advance.
• Spot clean your house (especially bathrooms), and remove or put away all surface clutter.
• If you’re having a large number of guests, consider buying a hanging garment rack and hangers for guests.
Day before Thanksgiving
• Set the table, including centerpieces. Purchase flowers or assemble centerpieces and table décor.
• Determine which foods will go on which platters and serving pieces.
• Designate and set up a beverage station and dessert table.
• Chill the beverages.
• Determine when the turkey should begin to defrost.
• Get a good night’s sleep.
• Wake up early. Exercise if you can.
• Cook the turkey and anything else that couldn’t be prepared in advance.
• Take refrigerated dishes out, so they can adjust to room temperature.
• Accept any and all help from your guests.
• Enjoy the little moments and family traditions. Ultimately, they are what matter!