If you’re hosting your first Thanksgiving or your 20th Thanksgiving, we’re all looking for a way to take the stress out of holiday hosting. Here are a few tips to take the fuss out of your feast.
1. Keep It Simple
The always important KISS rule. You don’t have to go overboard making 20 dishes. Turkey, potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, and a veggie dish is enough to feed an army already. If you’re saddled with the whole meal, cook only what you feel comfortable with making.
2. Go Potluck
Take some of the stress off by divvying up the work. This will give a chance for Aunt Lizzy to make everyone’s favorite Waldorf Salad or Mom to make her Sweet Potatoes with that “special ingredient.” This is also a great opportunity to pass on those favorite and traditional recipes to the next generation. Getting the kids involved will also help them feel comfortable in the kitchen. Mashed potatoes is a great first dish to hand over to a responsible young one.
3. Clean Out The Fridge
You’ll want to make room in your fridge for all the food that is about to come flooding in. While you’re making the house cleaning rounds, take the opportunity to eat or throw out the left overs currently occupying the shelves.
4. Use The Microwave
I know, I know! It’s cheating, but if you’re looking for ways to cut corners, this is a good one. Potatoes, asparagus, and green beans can quickly be cooked in the microwave. Food items like that can be prepped and cooked last, so they are freshly heated for the dinner table… or buffet line.
5. Stock Up On Drinks
Make your trips to the necessary stores so that you have plenty of beer, wine, sodas, and other beverages. Load them up in coolers and pile on plenty of ice. Just try and avoid the temptation to dive in early.
6. Grocery Shop In Shifts
The grocery stores are already packed with frantic Thanksgiving hosts looking for the same thing you are. Hit the stores in off-peak hours and grab what you need now.
7. To China, Or To Chinet? That Is The Question
Nobody really considers the stress of the post-feast clean up. Think ahead: Do you really want to hand wash all your fine china, or are you okay serving on paper plates? The dishwasher, be it machine, spouse, or child, will already be faced with a mountain of cookware to wash. This will be another good corner to cut, and the good news is that they make paper plates that look just as nice as real china.
8. Buy The Desert
Unless you absolutely insist on homemade pumpkin pie, nobody has to know that your grocery store is the genius behind this year’s desert goods.
9. Cheat: Call In Catering
It’s okay to wave the white flag of surrender. Take a deep breath, pick up the phone, and call in catering. Whether you admit to it or not, is up to you. Whole Foods Market and Sonny Bryan’s Barbecue are great ideas for catering your holiday meal. Let them make all or a portion of your meal.
10. Ask For Help
There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. That’s what family is for. Call in the aunts, cousins, and moms if you feel like you’ve gotten in over your head. It’s moments like these that create great holiday memories, and who knows, everyone might be laughing at the burnt turkey story years down the road.