How To Prepare For Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it brings the family together. But we can all agree that prepping for the big day can be stressful and hectic. If you host dinner at your house, you’re stressing on just when to put the turkey in the oven (or deep fryer) while also ensuring everything else will get cooked on time and be warm for your guests. So here are some tips that were passed down to me on how to prepare.
1.) Prepare food the night before.
I like to use disposable aluminum containers to put things like green beans and potatoes in. The night before Thanksgiving Day, I make homemade mashed potatoes and put them in an aluminum container with a lid or tin foil. The next day, I just throw them in the oven until they are warmed through and serve them. Preparing vegetables and bread the day before saves so much time before guests arrive.
2.) Clean as you go.
Preparing all of the food can get messy quickly. Focus on making one dish at a time and clean it up when you’re finished. You’ll be thankful that it is just one less thing you have to do later. Wipe down the counter as soon as you’ve spilled some gravy on it and sweep up those crumbs you dropped on the floor when making a pie. Cleaning as you go ensures you don’t miss a mess when you’re finishing up your last-minute preparations.
3.) Go disposable.
For years I have been stuck cleaning the dishes after all of my guests leave. Even with a dishwasher, the dishes can be overwhelming. This year, I am using paper plates and plastic forks and knives to save me the tiring task of after-dinner dishes.
4.) Set out dishes the night before.
Put the tablecloth on the table and set your table the night before. Make sure to have an extra setting or two for any unexpected guests. It is always nice to wake up to a beautifully decorated table—and not have to stress about yet another task.
5.) Contact your guests.
A day or two before Thanksgiving, it is always a good idea to double-check with your guests and make sure they’re still coming and see if they plan on bringing anybody extra. If they were supposed to be bringing a dish, this is the time to remind them.
6.) The turkey.
This one should be done at least two weeks before Thanksgiving. The grocery stores are always packed with people in the two weeks leading up to any major holiday. Turkeys go fast! I always pick my turkey with the idea in mind that I could have extra guests. It’s always better to be prepared, and having turkey leftovers is always a delicious treat! I also like to prepare my turkey the day before. Make sure it is thawed through and lather it up with some butter (under the skin too). Season with your choice of seasonings and bake according to the instructions in your turkey or recipe. I love taking a meat injector and injecting the turkey with juices from the bottom of the pan. It keeps everything moist and helps keep the flavor throughout.
Make sure you know what channel the traditional Macy’s Day Parade and the football game are on. One year, I struggled to find the right channel and ended up having to stream it live on my tablet. I was disappointed that I’d missed most of it. Ever since then, I try and make sure I know what channel and time it will be on so I can enjoy it with my family and friends that are over.
8.) Treat your pets safely.
A lot of people feed their dogs the foods they eat and don’t realize that this can be deadly. Turkey, ham, stuffing, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, salty snacks, nuts, and chocolate can all be harmful to your furry friends, whether cat or dog. Everyone uses different ingredients like raisins, mushrooms, onions, which are all bad for dogs. Usually, local pet stores have pet-friendly treats that are holiday-themed. This is the safest way to still show your dog they’re part of the family on this special holiday. You and your pets will have full bellies this holiday season.
9.) Remember to be thankful.
It can be easy to get wrapped up in the stress from preparing for this grand meal, so sit back and relax. Enjoy the company of your guests, and be thankful for them. Our lives can change at any moment, and it is often hard to get together as a group on a normal day. Tell the people around you that you love and appreciate them!