Now is the time of year we often begin to feel the stress of holidays. The planning, the people, foods, and countdown to gift buying days all seem to start about now…. Take a deep breath, because while Serendipity is all about a successful holiday season, we don’t like to see people stress over them–here is quick guide to help get a head start on Thanksgiving. (Don’t worry; we have blog on early Christmas planning coming too…)
Plan Menu: Yes, it seems easy enough, but many of us don’t get around to writing down a menu plan until a week (or less) before. Do yourself a favor, and write down your menu plan now. A good rule of thumb is to think turkey then work your way out from there. Add three to four veggie sides (cranberry sauce doesn’t count), two to three appetizers, and one or two desserts depending on your party size.
Think of who is coming: Now that you have an idea of what to serve, go through your menu and make sure that you have dishes that suit any guests with dietary needs: a hearty vegetable dish for vegetarians, potato options for gluten-free friends, and extra meat for paleo people. If you are nervous about not serving the right dish for a specific friend, it is perfectly acceptable to ask them to bring something appropriate to eat, which brings us to our next tip….
Now that you have your menu planned, decide if this is a project you’d like to take on yourself, or if you need to enlist your guests for help. Most Thanksgiving meals are potluck style so don’t feel bad about asking folks to bring sides, apps, or desserts
Count plates and flatware: Simply count your serving dishes, plates, wine glasses, and flatware. If possible, stack them somewhere out of the way until show time. Nothing is worse than scrambling last minute to find your family’s heirloom serving dish an hour before guests arrive.
Clean out fridge and freezer: This is a task worth doing multiple times a year, but before Turkey Day is an ideal time to go through your fridge and throw out any expired foods and un-used condiments.
Order your turkey: Call your butcher and order your bird. Order enough for each person to have 1-1.5 pounds of turkey. Of course, not everyone will eat this much turkey but this calculates enough for big eaters and leftovers. Keep in mind it is better to have too much than not enough!
Freeze pies or dough: End your early prep on a sweet note and freeze any make-ahead pies, or cookie dough. Making pies ahead of time can save a lot of stress. After all, baking takes time so take the pressure off and bake a few pies or gather dough on a leisurely afternoon. Simply whip fresh cream before serving pies and no one will ever know that you (smartly) pre-made your pies.
Keep checking with Serendipity over the next few weeks for more Thanksgiving ideas!