The holidays. A time of family, food, fun…and stress??? Yes, with all the good memories comes the pressure of getting it all done. This Thanksgiving, why not take time to get prepared early? An organized plan can alleviate stress and allow you to focus on family and friends this Thanksgiving. Turkey Day is two weeks away. Follow this schedule to create a pleasant holiday experience.
14 Days Out
Make a list of any events you will attend or host. Include all foods, beverages or miscellaneous items (plates, utensils, decorations, host/hostess gifts) you are responsible for bringing. Decide if there is anything that you would like to have professionally made and be sure to place the order.
13 Days Out
Take the time to organize your pantry and refrigerator to make room for ingredients and leftovers. This includes throwing out any expired foods, foods you no longer eat, and all those moldy leftovers that get lost in the back. Wipe down the shelves and drawers.
12 Days Out
Read through the recipes of the foods you will be preparing. Make a list of groceries you will need. Be sure to check your pantry and refrigerator so you don’t buy ingredients you already have. This will prevent an overstuffed kitchen and unorganized workspace.
11 Days Out
Go grocery shopping. Doing this step early will prevent so much stress! There is nothing worse than fighting grocery store crowds the weekend before Thanksgiving only to find out that the store is out of the ingredients you need. Better yet, utilize grocery pick-up services and stay out of the store altogether.
10 Days Out
Brainstorm any food preparations that you can do in advance. Many dishes like pies and casseroles do great in the freezer.
9 Days Out
Begin focusing on the house preparations if you are having guests over. What areas of your home need attention before people arrive? Make a list of your trouble spots.
8 Days Out
Clean and organize guest rooms that will be utilized during the holidays. Dust, vacuum, and change sheets if necessary. Remove any clutter that may prevent your guest from enjoying the room.
7 Days Out
Clear surfaces in the kitchen, dining room, or anywhere people are certain to gather during the big meal. Doing this in advance will allow you to take time to put things back where they go and not shove everything in a box hidden in the back of a closet. All too often these boxes remain there for years to come. And speaking of closets, don’t forget to grab any Turkey Day decor you may still want to put out.
6 Days Out
Focus on the bathrooms. Clear the counter surfaces and tidy up the drawers. Thoroughly clean the toilets and showers.
5 Days Out
Prepare any casseroles that can be frozen or refrigerated today and baked the day of the event.
4 Days Out
Prepare any desserts that can be frozen or refrigerated today and baked the day of the event.
3 Days Out
Defrost the turkey. Remove any premade frozen dishes from the freezer and place them in the refrigerator.
2 Days Out
Gather any serving dishes you may need. Ensure the dishes are cleaned, polished, and ready for use.
1 Day Out
Do any last minute food prep that will make the day of cooking easier. Chop any vegetables and premeasure seasonings. Take time to figure out what order you need to prepare the food. What needs to bake the longest? What takes the longest to prepare before it can go in the oven? What needs to be served straight from the oven (think rolls) and what can benefit from sitting for a while after baking (think turkey or desserts).
Get a good night’s sleep.
The Big Day
Get an early start.
Appreciate how all the prep work you did is making the day easier for you. The day may not be completely stress-free, but it certainly will be calmer and more organized because of your efforts.
Be sure to have a visual list of the food you are serving. How many times have you forgotten to take out the cranberry sauce or salad from the refrigerator? You also don’t want to forget the food you prepped in advance that may not be on your radar today.
By taking the time to do a little each day over the next two weeks, you are sure to have a Thanksgiving day filled with lots of family, food, fun and just a pinch of stress. 😊