Thanksgiving dinner is the one time of year that the focus is on family and the food for ALL Americans. If you are in charge of holding the dinner, here are some tips to help keep your holiday chaos-free!
1. Decide on the Menu Now
It may seem like a ways off, but decide now what you will be serving. Deciding you menu in advance lets you take advantage of sales as you shop at the grocery store! If you decide to have a fresh turkey, or switch things up with a Ham, you will need to order these items in advance. If you are getting a frozen Turkey, make sure you know when you need to thaw it so it is ready to cook when you need it.
Make a list of what you need and will be serving, and as you get offers from your guests to bring something, refer to the list and put their name next to what they promised to bring. We also suggest you check with these same folks a couple days before Thanksgiving to make sure they are still bringing what they committed to bring. Also delegate any chores like polishing silver, assigning coat check, cleaning and baking to anyone who lives with you or offers to help!
3. Mix up the Dishes
Knowing how many people you are having over – and how many place settings you have for your table – should be determined in advance. Then try something new – once you know how many dishes you need, borrow some and mix them up (Great Aunt Edna’s flowery china, Sister’s Art Deco China, Mom’s old china from the 60’s!) then do it! It will make for interesting table talk – remembering Aunt Edna, etc.
4. Ditch Dessert
How many times have you overeaten at Thanksgiving? Every time right? So don’t go crazy making pumpkin, pecan, fruit pies or cookies. If you really think that your guests will be upset if there is no dessert, then ask someone to bring dessert and serve it with coffee before the football game but well after the meal.
You will work very hard to present a wonderful dinner and keep your dinner interesting, yet keep traditions in your family alive. But once the game starts, all bets are off! So don’t fight it. Encourage your guests to watch the game if they want. Set up a separate space if you know not everyone will be interested in watching. Then also be sure you have enough bread and extras for the inevitable half time break! Use your leftover Turkey or Ham for a sandwich platter, add lettuce, cranberry sauce, tomatoes and condiments. Have snack items like chips and dips just in case they are ready for even more food!