Thanksgiving Planning Guide: How to Plan for a Stress-Free Day

The cool mornings, earlier sunsets, and copper-colored leaves on trees signal a special time of year: Fall. But, despite the fact that this time of year brings out the cashmere sweaters from the winter closet and the occasion to drink warm apple cider, many people also get reacquainted with the anxiety Thanksgiving brings. This year, give yourself permission to relax on Thanksgiving. Follow these steps and you will truly be grateful.

Pre-Plan the Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

You would think for the seasoned Thanksgiving dinner chef, it would be easy to remember from year to year what each recipe calls for. Not so. Sure, we may remember the basics – like the turkey – but other things such as ground nutmeg can escape even veteran Thanksgiving preparers. Do yourself a favor and take out the family’s favorite Thanksgiving recipes like green-bean casserole, corn pudding, and pumpkin pie and prepare a comprehensive shopping list.

Cross Reference to Save Time and Money

Once your Thanksgiving shopping list is written, go through the pantry and the spice cabinet to see what you already have on hand and cross that off your list. You do not want to spend extra money on items you already have nor do you want to overload your pantry or spice cabinet. Plus, your time is valuable. Focus on finding the items you truly need.

Beat the Thanksgiving Bustle – Shop Early

As you get ready to go out and buy the Halloween candy, grab your Thanksgiving dinner shopping list and stock up on the essentials. No Thanksgiving dinner can be prepared without some pantry staples, so get them now. You would be surprised at how quickly key ingredients can disappear from the shelves the closer to Thanksgiving it gets. Three days before the big dinner, hit the grocery store for the remaining items on your list.

Purge the Pantry – Make Room for Thanksgiving Goods

When you come home with the first batch of Thanksgiving dinner essentials, don’t be tempted to simply stuff the shelves of the pantry. This is the perfect time to purge the pantry of expired goods and combine like items. Instead of having two opened boxes of herbal tea, marry the bags into one box and recycle the other. Instead of intermingling everyday items like cereal with stuffing, move the Thanksgiving goods into a common area.

It’s Time to Set the Table

There is nothing worse than realizing you do not have enough serving dishes to plate your special food, so set your table Tuesday morning. Put post-it notes on serving dishes and platters so you remember what food they will hold. Looking at your beautifully decorated table will help get you in the entertaining mood and reassure you that your ducks (well actually turkeys) are in a row.

What to Do the Wednesday Before Thanksgiving

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is a time for prep. Cut and cube your potatoes, put them in water, and store in the fridge. Assemble the green-bean casserole, the corn pudding, and the cranberry salad and put them in the fridge, too. Bake your pies. The goal is to wake up Thursday morning, pop the bird in the oven, and snuggle on the couch with the family to watch the Macy’s Day Parade.

By pre-planning and being organized, you will save yourself a holiday headache. You will be able to enjoy the meal you created and bask in the fellowship of family and friends. Have a happy Thanksgiving!

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