Hosting Thanksgiving in your home this year? With all these details to coordinate, guests to host and dishes to cook, having a plan will save headaches and pave the way for a gorgeous feast you can definitely feel grateful for. This breakdown of just what to do and when, in the early preparations to Thanksgiving day, may help.
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One Month Ahead
Figure out a few principles: How many people will you be inviting? Do you want it to feel elegant, comfy, casual? Start a list which you can add to over the month as you think of things you want.
Purchase your turkey early, especially if you are planning to acquire a legacy bird (they really do sell out).
Pick recipes and figure out who will be creating what.Do a walk-through of your house. Does anything need fixing or updating before the big moment? Make a plan to look after repairs and decorating jobs today, while you still have ample time.Clear space in the pantry, checking levels of basic ingredients as you go.Clean the coat closet — move extra coats into another space briefly if you want to, so guests may use the main hall closet on the significant day.Figure out today if you have to lease, borrow or purchase anything — extra chairs, serving platters, silverware etc..
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Two to Three Weeks Ahead
Make any DIY table decor you want to personalize, like napkin rings, candleholders and place cards.Make your purchasing lists: one for perishables and yet another for nonperishables.Make your cooking schedule. Look up all the recipes you’ll be creating, noting cooking temperatures and times, as well as which dishes can be created beforehand (and how far in advance).Shop for all the items in your nonperishables list, but do not change them. Instead leave them packed in their luggage and tuck them away in a closet or cupboard. This saves you time putting everything away today — and aids on turkey day when you don’t need to go rummaging around for, say, the canned pumpkin.A few extras you might want to consider including: newspaper takeout containers for handing out leftovers, crayons and butcher paper for the kids’ table and wineglass charms or removable stickers for eyeglasses.
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If you still require extra chairs, platters or coffee cups and haven’t yet purchased or borrowed them, now’s the moment. Ikea is fabulous for budget-friendly staples (such as the adorable folding seat shown here), however a neighborhood party rental company is an excellent alternative, too.
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The Weekend Before
Give your home an all-over cleaning. Do not waste your time with concealed areas and profound clutter — concentrate on the entryway, bathrooms, dining room and living room.Tidy up the front porch, assess porch lighting and add a few fresh potted plants or a wreath on the door.Clean out the fridge and freezer.If you’re purchasing a frozen turkey, pick this up today and start thawing it in fridge.Shop for and start cooking dishes which may be made ahead and frozen, like pie dough.
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Review the menu and gather all essential serving pieces and trivets in one place; use sticky notes to tag every single platter with all the dish it will hold.Polish any silver you are going to be using. If you want to be superorganized, print copies of all of your Thanksgiving recipes and put them in a presentation binder with clear plastic sheeting. After the big day, you may add notes and shopping lists, and next year you will be all set!
Shop for perishables.Pick the turkey up if you’re purchasing fresh.Unless you made a Thanksgiving binder over the weekend (see above), now’s the time to gather your recipes. Pin copies into a bulletin board, tape them into the kitchen wall or at least bookmark them in your cookbooks for simple reference.
Write the cooking plan (oven temperatures and cooking times) onto a whiteboard or tape to the wall, somewhere that you and your helpers can easily check it.
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The Night Before
Set the table if you’re serving family style or prepare the buffet.Put labeled serving dishes and implements on trivets around the table or buffet.Tidy around the house.Prep any dishes you can to ease the workload for the next day.Put whatever you made beforehand and froze in the fridge to thaw.
Set up the kids’ table.Arrange flowers.Put out cards.
About Thanksgiving Day
Fill a dishpan with soapy water and use it to wash as you go.Start the turkey in the afternoon and follow your cooking plan.If anyone offers to help, accept!
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Wrap up leftovers immediately to prevent food-borne ailments. If you’re giving leftovers to guests, pack the meals in takeout containers and store it in the fridge until it is time to go.
Run a load of dishes in the dishwasher prior to sitting down to dessert.Now sit back and enjoy that pie!
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