How to Plan Thanksgiving The Easy Way
We all love Thanksgiving, and as kids, we didn't realize how much effort was put into all of the preparations. Now, as adults, we scramble around trying to do all of the things that our mothers seemed to effortlessly accomplish before the big day.
Our steps below will help you plan your very own fool-proof Thanksgiving.
1) Make a guest list
Start making your guest list a few months in advance, then go ahead and get a headcount. Knowing exactly how many people will be attending will make your life in the kitchen much easier. If any of them have dietary restrictions, make sure to note them down in order to give them an alternative.
2) Pick a theme
Most themes are reserved for Christmas, but that doesn't mean you can be creative with Thanksgiving dinner as well! From pilgrim parties to gourmet Thanksgiving, themes can be fun. Even if you're doing a classic Thanksgiving dinner, knowing the vibe you want to give off at your party will help a lot.
3) Pick your recipes
Once you know exactly what kind of cuisine you would like to serve, start picking specific recipes. Even if they are family recipes jotted down on index cards, compile the list of everything you would like to make. From here, you can check your pantry and start your master shopping list. If you need to do a practice run of any new recipes, start doing that now. It is also a good idea to make a cooking timetable, that is, make a schedule of what needs to be cooked, how, and how long. If you can cook things in advance, like cheesecakes or pies, and freeze them, do that a few days or a week before the big day.
4) Order ahead
If you like to order a turkey from a specialty store, do that about a month in advance. Even if you just buy your turkey from the local grocery store, ask them if you can reserve a turkey, or when exactly you will need to pick it up in order to get the best one. If you are missing any essential cooking equipment, either go ahead and purchase them, or delegate the tasks to guests who have the equipment and are willing to participate.
5) Cook ahead
Go ahead and start making preparations a week ahead. If you use special spice mixes, homemade pie crusts, or marinades, you can prepare them ahead of time, then pop them in the freezer until Thanksgiving Day. You don't want to lose valuable time or oven space on something you could have made the day before.
6) Try out some decorating options
If your the kind who likes to change it up every year, planning out some colors or place settings can be a fun experience. While many of us opt for our go-to nice table cloth and napkins, changing up one or two of our classics can be exciting, and makes for an entirely new atmosphere.
7) Change it up a little
While Thanksgiving is generally a traditional experience that stays the same every year, we can aim to change one or two things every year, to keep the planning process exciting. Whether it be a new cocktail surprise, fun party favors, or fancy dips before the dinner arrives, having one element of suprise will keep guests from getting bored and create a bit of buzz before the party.
Focus on having a good time with those you love, and the rest will come. As with anything, knowing where to start is the first step.
Share with us your Thanksgiving planning tricks! Good luck and happy Turkey Day!