It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is around the corner. It hardly seems possible that we will be eating turkey in a few weeks, but we are. I love the holidays and try to make them as special as possible for my whole family to enjoy. I am one of those moms who can’t wait to decorate for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, especially Christmas. Most importantly, I want to make sure that I spend quality time with my family, without getting too caught up in the cleaning and house preparations. If you have guests visiting for Thanksgiving, below is a time line to make entertaining a little less hectic.
Three Weeks Before Thanksgiving
- Finalize the Guest List – I urge you to get a count of the number of people who plan on attending dinner. The sooner you know the sooner you can start preparing. Ask your guests if they have any food aversions this can help avoid an uncomfortable situation.
- Check Magazines for Ideas – There are a number of magazines and internet sites that have creative ideas for decorating for the holiday. Check them out for new recipes for dinner and desert and try something different this year.
- Prepare Your Menu – Take a half an hour out of your day, sit down and plan your dinner menu. Create a list of all the food, drinks, deserts, and ingredients required to prepare your meal. This may seem like a no brainer, but I have run to the store the hour before guests arrived many of times because I didn’t plan carefully. If you are cooking a new dish this year, you may want to have a trial run with your family. Many grocery stores will have great discounts, make sure you take advantage of them and start clipping those coupons now.
Two Weeks Before Thanksgiving
- Finish Decorating – If you decorated for the fall season than skip this step. Decorations can be simple, a nice fall wreath, warm candles, some pumpkins, acorns or squash arranged in a bowl for a centerpiece, and even some fun crafts from the kids. Make it simple but cozy.
- Prepare the Guestroom – If you have guests who are staying the night, start preparing their room and keep it off limits to everyone else. Change the linen, clean under the beds and in the closet, lay out the towels, and add any other small touches that will make them feel at home.
- Take Inventory of Your Dinnerware – Make sure you have enough dishes, silverware, glasses, serving trays, pots, pans, and utensils for your meal and your guests. Think about how you want your table to look, and the little details such as, if you will use linen or cloth napkins, do you want a casual or formal dinner, will you have a kids table, or are there seating arrangements, these are all details you want to decide before the holiday.
- Grocery Shop – Grocery shopping depends on your schedule. Some people rather wait until the week of Thanksgiving in hopes of taking advantage of bigger bargains. Personally, I find the last week to be too hectic and the stores too frantic. Choose a day that you won’t be rushed. Be armed with your list and a plan. You may want to bring your children depending on their age to share in the experience of preparing for the meal.
- Touch Base with Your Guests – Take time out of your busy schedule to confirm with your guests that they are coming and what time to expect dinner.
- Clean the House – If you clean the house earlier chances are it won’t stay that way. There are certain chores you can do before the third week, such as tidying up the yard, or cleaning out the hall closet to make space for coats, whatever you can do before countdown, by all means do it. I do a thorough cleaning of one room at a time. I find that if I jump around I get less accomplished. I suggest assigning the whole family specific chores to get the housecleaning finished quicker.
- Meal Preparation – Have everything you need for your meal at your fingertips. Chop vegetables a couple days ahead and store them in Ziploc bags in the refrigerator and place cans and ingredients out the night before. Anything you can do before the actual day will save you a ton of time.
Most importantly don’t neglect yourself. Take time to relax before your guests arrive. It isn’t uncommon for exhaustion to settle in, making you cranky and stressed. Take a long bath, have some quiet time, and don’t lose sight of the real meaning of the holiday. Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to make everything perfect that we miss out on just having fun and enjoying our family, friends, and reflecting on God’s many blessings.
Also don’t be superwoman! Allow your family to help with the cooking, baking, and preparations. Holidays are a time for families to bond and create traditions, and this is the perfect time to share in the festivities. Sure we want our house to be clean, and the turkey to be golden, but people really remember the laughs, hugs, and good conversations that holiday memories are made of. Enjoy the holidays without all the stress.
Copyright © Chere Williams, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved