It’s the time of year when we get to relax with our families and enjoy a final meal before the stressful holiday season. Of course, Thanksgiving can be stressful for many people themselves. We wanted to share some tips to make this thanksgiving less stressful.
In this issue, we’ll tell you how to plan the perfect Thanksgiving meal, pull it off without any problems, and what to do if you don’t happen to make things just so.
You don’t have to plan for weeks in advance whether you are planning a big holiday bash or an intimate family affair.
We’ll tell you how to plan an exciting menu, and how to deal with difficult guests. We’ll even give you some tips on how to be the model guest if you’re attending someone else’s big day.
Whatever it is you choose for your holiday plans, here’s hoping for a holiday for you and yours!
How to Have a Stress Free and Happy Thanksgiving
Whether you are hosting or just attending, we’ve got a plan of action that will get you excited, and keep you stress free so that you can enjoy your family and your meal.
If you’re hosting:
The hardest part of hosting is planning the meal is planning the meal. You want to impress your guests, but you don’t want a disaster. The following tips will help you plan a meal your guests will love, and will talk about until the end of the year:
Start your meal plan as soon as you know that you’ll be hosting. Look for recipes that have new twists on old favorites to keep guests who have expectations of a traditional meal happy, but with a meal that won’t be boring.
For quick dishes such as sides, you should try to test them on your family before presenting them for a big holiday meal. This way if you’ll know if that delicious sounding recipe for sweet potatoes or that new twist on cranberry sauce will work.
Don’t try anything too outrageous for the first time on guests, especially if you’re trying to impress them with your skills.
Once you’ve got your meal planned out, and your recipes tested, it’s time to make a game plan for your timeline. A big meal is tough to do on your own, and if you’ve got a big crowd to feed, you may want to enlist help to avoid having to spend the days up to and including Thanksgiving day in the kitchen.
Do as much ahead of time as you can. Just because you are the host doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t enjoy your day as much as everyone else.
Start thinking about how you’re going to decorate. Things like fall centerpieces, mantle decorations and wreaths make great conversation pieces and will carry you into the Christmas season and beyond.
When inviting guests, don’t be afraid to let them bring something, especially if they ask you want they can bring or do to help.
Make sure you factor in enough time for everything. For example, if you’re using a frozen turkey, make sure you have enough time to thaw it in the refrigerator. This can take a full day or longer depending on how big it is.
Do your grocery shopping as early as possible. This may be difficult if you are having a lot of fresh food, but most things will last at least 3 days before you use it. Going to the store any closer than the holiday than this will cause headache and frustration.
Go to the grocery store super early in the morning or late at night, and try to avoid going on a Saturday or Sunday.
Anything that’s not time sensitive should be done days in advance. This includes cleaning, decorating and even preparing food that can be done ahead.
If you have guests who have allergies and/or diet restrictions:
First, if you’re inviting people you don’t know, you should ask about dietary needs at that time. This gives you time to plan. Some people will say they will be fine, but it’s polite to ask.
If you’re having a big party and you’re unsure, you should do your best to have a variety of dishes that will please everyone. Most vegetarians for example understand that they aren’t going to have a main dish at a Thanksgiving dinner and are probably happy eating sides as long as they don’t all include meat.
You can’t cover every allergy or diet issue under the sun, but having a wide variety of dishes helps
Regardless of what you know and don’t know about someone’s diet, you should always inform your guests if there are any unseen ingredients that could be extremely harmful to those who are allergic; these include nuts (especially peanuts) and shellfish.
If you are attending a Thanksgiving dinner as a guest:
RSVP as soon as you know whether you can attend.
Don’t ask if you can bring anything unless you actually want to. If you bring something, make sure itÕs enough for all guests. Ask your host if you don’t know how many will be attending.
Show up on time. A token gift is always appreciated, whether it be a bottle of wine, a loaf of bread or some home baked goodies. Don’t be surprised or upset if the host does not put these out for guests.
If you are attending as a guest with dietary restrictions:
If your hostess asks you, be honest. They are asking because they want you to have a good time.
If you have extreme allergies, mentioning it to the host is helpful even if they don’t ask.
Don’t expect an entire meal to be cooked for you, even if your host asked and you told the truth. Remember, you are the one with restrictions.
While it is okay to bring a dish, do not bring an entire meal or an entree, or anything else that may offend the host. If your concerns are that great, eat a small meal beforehand.
Hopefully these tips will help you have a stress free and wonderful Thanksgiving! Be safe, enjoy your meal, and enjoy your family.