So, the time has come. It seems like just yesterday you were praying this would be the year you would be invited to the grown-up table. Now, the buck’s been passed. Thanksgiving is at YOUR HOUSE this year! AHHhhh…
Wait! Don’t Panic! You’ve GOT THIS!!
But, just in case you are still nervous here are a few Thanksgiving tips I hope you find helpful.
1. Carbs and Classics
When it comes to feeding a large crowd stick to the carbs. People want to eat carbs on Thanksgiving and it’s a good way to fill people up. This means lots of potatoes, breads, noodles, etc.
You are also going to want to stick to your classic recipes. Hear me when I say this in the most loving way possible…this is not the time for that Pinterest Fail. Nobody wants to see your “turkey” rice crispy treats that look better suited for Halloween than Thanksgiving. If you must Pinterest…be sure to do a trial run OR have something as a backup in case those “Pilgrim” cookies end up looking like they literally just got off the Mayflower!
2. Get Them Out of Your Kitchen!
Before the big day make a list of to-do's that can be given to those eager beavers. This will help you keep people out of the kitchen on Thanksgiving. Include tasks such as mix up lemonade, set out silverware, refill salt and pepper shakers, help people carry in stuff from their cars, cut all the desserts, etc. Anything that can happen outside of the kitchen!
3. Your Right Hand Man
Find that person who will be your go to helper. You don’t have to go to this person and announce, “I crown you my Thanksgiving Day assistant!” You don’t even have to tell them! It’s just nice to know who you can trust when you need something done! This person is probably someone calm and quiet. Calm people are better at making decisions, and introverted people won’t be distracted by “catching up on old times.”
4. Oooo Pretty!! - Decorations
Hold the glass please! I know, everybody wants that Pinterest perfect, high fashion table. But! if there will be lots of children present, the fewer breakables the better! SO, no glass!!
If you want easy, cheap, and current…brown packaging paper is very popular right now. All you need is a Sharpie, some calligraphy tutorials, and Eucalyptus leaves or babies’ breath (pick up a bundle at any grocery store). Add some mini white pumpkins and you are ready for your magazine photo. Fruits are also a great way to add color and texture to any table-scape. Apples are my favorite, because they come in so many different colors!
5. Give ‘Em Some Snacks
Speaking of decorations, one great way to kill two birds with one stone is with appetizers! An antipasto platter is a great way to decorate a dining room table and keep guests with the munchies out of the kitchen. You can custom make your platter with a clean piece of wood and food safe stain. You can get these kinds of stains at Lowe’s or Home Depot. (Just give yourself plenty of time to do this project; the stain may take a few days to cure and require multiple coats.)
Even if you don’t choose to do an antipasto platter, a simple veggie tray is a great way to keep people patient. Plus, it may be the only vegetables your family actually eats that day. Once the rolls come out, a carrot stick is a hard sell!
6. Where’s the Bathroom??
Are people new to your house? To avoid the bathroom question, print up some quick signs with arrows to direct people. Hang them in hallways or wherever they will be the most visible. If you are worried they will look tacky, just add a goodwill picture frame and some fake fall flowers from the dollar store. (This should also help satisfy your holiday crafting urge.)
7. Paper or Plastic?
If you are using disposable silverware make sure you have plenty of “extra” forks. Most people will eat their dinner, throw away their fork, only to realize they need another one for dessert. The same goes for spoons if you are serving coffee.
If you are using disposable cups, set out a couple Sharpies so everyone can claim their cup. This is the oldest trick in the book, but it still reigns true!
Avoid eating turkey for the next 2 months by picking up some Styrofoam to-go containers. This way everyone can trade leftovers before they leave. You can find these at any wholesale store like GFS or Sam’s Club.
8. Clean Up, Everybody, Everywhere!
Last but definitely not least! This is one of the best ideas I have ever heard (yes, I can say that because it wasn’t my idea.) This idea came from Yvonne Pratt at www.stonegableblog.com, and it is essential to avoid clean up chaos! All you need is dollar store dishpans and notecards. On each notecard, write out something that needs to be cleaned up. For example,
“Pick up all the plates, please”
“Gather all the silverware, please”
“Pick up all the cups, please”
“Retrieve all the salt and pepper shakers, please”
Then place a notecard in each dishpan, and stack them away for after dinner. When dinner is over and everyone starts asking how they can help clean up, you simply hand everyone a dishpan and the fun begins. Soon all your dishes are organized and back in the kitchen; ready for the dishwasher. Don’t have a dishwasher? You can direct everyone to take them to a separate room like the laundry room or the garage. Add some dish soap and hot water to each dishpan and let them soak for a little while. I would also recommend making one of the dishpans for food scraps! This will make sure your furry family members have a happy Thanksgiving also!!
I hope these tips have been helpful, or at least started to get your wheels turning. From my family to yours – Happy Thanksgiving and God Bless!