Tips to Make Thanksgiving Easier

10 November 2021

Holidays can be a fun time but also filled with stress.  This is especially true if you are hosting multi-generational gatherings, including in-laws and out-laws, friends, steps, and even sometimes exes.  No matter if you are hosting for the first time or the fifteenth, here are some tips that may make things a bit easier.

  • Plan your menu. There are rumors of food shortages again this year.  Have a Plan B ready if you can’t locate everything you want.
  • Food choices. There are two ways to go for special diets.  One is to have special dishes for vegans, diabetics, etc.  The other choice is to serve what you want and let people eat around whatever they don’t want.  Whichever you opt for, stick to your guns.
  • What can I bring? Although you may really want to do it all yourself and are very specific about that, someone will always insist on bringing something.  Try to be accommodating and shove things around so you find a place for the dish.  A good option is to tell them to bring ice.

    Thanksgiving Turkey

  • Big Bird. If you are feeding a crowd opt for two smaller turkeys rather than a single large one. They will take less time to cook.  In fact, if you spatchcock (split open by removing the backbone) them, that speeds up the time in the oven by about one half.
  • Cook in advance.
    • If you have decided to do two turkeys, cook one a day or so before, carve, and wrap it in foil. After your main bird has come out of the oven and is resting before carving, stick the foil-wrapped extras in the oven to warm.
    • Gravy bases can be frozen.
    • Make your mashed potatoes a couple of days early. Seal them in an air-tight container. Thanksgiving morning transfer them to a slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low two to three hours (increase the time if the potatoes go in chilled).  They can be held on warm or low up to two hours more.
  • Thanksgiving Eve
    • Set the table. Cover it with a clean sheet(s) if necessary.
    • Label serving bowls and platters.
    • Empty the dishwasher.
    • Take out the trash. Keep garbage/trash bags handy.
  • How can I help? Save easy tasks for someone who insists on being of assistance.
  • Post Meal. Not everyone will want to watch the big game.  Even if the weather is great, not all the kids will want to go outside.  Have some spaces that can be used for conversation.  Put out some board games for the kids, or big kids, who might want to indulge.  Don’t get upset if someone is sitting alone.
  • This becomes another dealer’s choice.  Some people want to keep leftovers for themselves.  After all, they have spent the money and done all the work.  Others don’t want to see turkey for another year.  If you want folks to take home extra, have some to-go containers or paraphernalia ready for them.  Even if you don’t want to share, expect that someone will ask if they can take home some of the bounty.

These are only some of the ideas that can make your day more pleasant.

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