The holidays can be plenty stressful and hosting a holiday meal can be challenging. With a little planning, we can make our day relaxing! These tips for hosting a perfect holiday, whether it’s a big family get-together, for friends, or an intimate dinner for two, will help make the day fun for everyone, even the hostess!
Several Weeks Before Thanksgiving
- Make a preliminary menu list
- Plan for the Perfect Turkey
- Shop for items that you can buy in advance
- Decorate the outside of your home and begin planning your inside decorations
- Make double sized meals now and freeze the extra so the week of Thanksgiving you don’t have to worry about cooking
- If you plan to order items from a florist, be sure to place your order one week before the holiday. Mark it on your calendar so you don’t forget.
The Weekend Before Thanksgiving
- Give your house a thorough spit-and-polish cleaning: Wash windows, get into the nooks and crannies, clean your guest bathroom, make sure you have laundered all your linens and have ample soap and toiletries if you are having overnight guests.. Do as much cleaning as possible ahead of time.
- Recheck your menu list and make final decisions as to what you will serve as the main meal and appetizers. Remember to go light on appetizers, as the main meal is the focus. If guests have inquired as to what they can bring, finger food, vegetable trays or desserts are always handy for you to have brought and easier for them to make and transport.
- Now is the time to shop to restock your pantry or get items that you didn’t purchase a few weeks ago. The stores are insanely busy right now, so the best time to go is early in the morning or after 8 p.m.
- Clean off your counters, removing anything that isn’t necessary.
- Plan where you’ll serve your meal from and get out all the serving pieces you’ll need.
- Decorate the inside of your house. The ambiance of your gathering is as important as the food. Set a mood. Utilize a theme. Several well-placed, eye catching pieces are more enticing than a bunch of things strewn throughout the house. Plan for music, it should be inviting as well. Subtle, pleasing background music should be just that, background. If your guests have to talk louder than normal conversational tone to be heard, your music is too loud.
Several Days before Thanksgiving
- Go over your menu list again, double check your ingredients and confirm what you need. Did you order from the florist? If so, a quick reminder call is always a good idea.
- Make ahead whatever recipes you can. This can include pies and dips.
- Chop and prepare your fresh produce items and get them prepared for cooking.
- Measure out ingredients for casseroles and put all of these items in plastic bags in the refrigerator so that you can get to them easily.
The Day before Thanksgiving
- Make the mashed potatoes ahead.
- Assemble vegetable trays if you are making them
- Set the table now
- Put out your plates, silverware, placemats, napkins and glasses the night before, or even sooner. If you are worried about dust, cover everything with a light sheet. Having this done ahead of time is a big relief and frees up lots of time on the day of the meal.
- Give the house a final going-over, making sure everything is picked up and clean
- Allow yourself a little extra time in the morning to assemble casseroles and other items.
- Make sure you start your main course entrée meat with plenty of built in time to allow for unforeseeable issues. Usually plan to have it come out of the oven an hour before the meal is served. This allows you time to cook longer or fix mistakes if necessary.
- Clean up and put away all preparation dishes and unnecessary items.
Once everything is baking, sit back and relax, pour yourself a glass of your favorite beverage and enjoy the day along with your family and guests.