10 Tips for an Organized and Stress-Free Thanksgiving

Julie Lemerond November 19, 2015
  1. Make lists one week in advance of everything you need to get to prepare for the day - everything from table settings to the turkey and ingredients.  Hang the list on your refrigerator and add to it as you think of things.  Section the list into categories such as frozen foods, fresh foods, decorations, and miscellaneous items, making it easier to run down the list when you head out to shop for everything.
  2. Delegate!   Realize that there is only so much that one person can do.  While you may want to be the one in control of everything, the added pressure on your mind, body and heart isn’t worth it.  Got teenagers?  Put them to work getting the house in order before company arrives!  Even the little kids can chip in.
  3. On the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, get the house prepared for the next day by making it a fun event for the whole family to do together!  Keep it simple - order a pizza and leave the cooking for the next day.  Your kids will be more likely to help out, and make it even more seasonal by putting on a Thanksgiving movie in the background (Planes, Trains and Automobiles is a favorite!)
  4. Invite your guests to bring a dish to pass - this is a perfect way to get out of baking the pie or smashing the mashed potatoes!
  5. Shop early for frozen items, and stock them away until needed.  Same goes for canned goods.
  6. Don’t be afraid to get pre-made dishes from your favorite grocery store (AJs, Sprouts, Whole Foods) - often times these stores create wonderful side dishes that are more labor-intensive than you care to do on your own, and they are ready for pickup whenever you are!
  7. Pull out the decorations in advance.  Running around at the last minute looking in drawers for tea light candles or extra napkins is a waste of precious time and energy.  Have these items already in place or at least set aside to easily find when needed.
  8. Set the table well in advance - if you have a special dining area that you will be using for Thanksgiving dinner, get it set earlier in the week so you can check that off of your list of things to-do!
  9. Pretend that your guests will arrive early - if everyone is coming over at noon, plan on being ready for their arrival by 11:30 (or even earlier), in case they do come early you won’t feel as rushed, and if they still come on time you have a little breathing space before they arrive.
  10. Don’t forget to relax and enjoy the ride.  The reason for the season is to get your family and loved ones together to celebrate all that we have to be grateful for.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  They will remember your company more than your food, and they will be grateful for everything you have to offer!