Like many people at this given moment in time, my circumstances have caused my well-intentioned plans for Thanksgiving to go awry.

I am grateful to God that none of my problems have been major, just time consuming and stress producing. Hopefully these situations will increase my thankfulness and force me approach our family celebration in a more relaxed way.

Her are some tips for people who are hosting/cooking…

  1. Determine the people who are planning to have dinner with you.
  2. Decide on the menu. Get 80-90% of it determined. This year I will have to make fewer dishes, but more of each one. And I will be asking for more help.
  3. Make a list of the people who have confirm for dinner. Consider sending an email (or evite) to confirm the start time and assignments for folks who are bringing a dish/beverages. Ask if anyone has any dietary needs that need to be kept in mind.
  4. Make a list of what you will be making and create your grocery list. Decide when to shop – keeping in mind how much freezer/refrigerator space you have. I might do two medium sized trips instead of one mega shop, so I can start cooking some items over this weekend.
  5. Think about the best day/time to prepare the various menu items. Perhaps you can do some cooking after church on Sunday and freeze those things.
  6. Clean out your refrigerator, by eating the stuff you have on hand over the next few days. That will give you space for the feast items.
  7. On Monday or Tuesday of this week, spend some time cleaning and de-cluttering your home. If you need help, this might be something you can hire out or assign to family members. My oldest son asked to have a female friend over to visit two weekends ago – and he and his brother scrubbed down the whole house in advance. I was pleasantly surprised how good a job they did when properly motivated.
  8. If you want to try a new or difficult recipe, maybe you can make a “test” batch this weekend. That is one of the few things I did do for preparation last weekend. I tested my great-grandmother’s sweet dinner roll recipe and was thrilled that I could still do it a whole year later. I also remembered that these have a lengthy prep time, so I need to set aside enough time to make them.
  9. Think about the serving dishes that you will use for each menu item. Stage them close to the cooking action on Wednesday, so they are ready when needed. Consider setting all of the food up buffet style. That might make it easier to serve everyone upfront and for folks to have seconds.
  10. I usually enjoy the splurge of using cloth napkins for Thanksgiving, along with a “seat” card that has a Bible verse on it. I place the place near the napkin so that folks have a beneficial memento of our gathering. Here is a template to print cards for your table. Just print on 8 ½ x 11 paper, cut out the seat cards, fold and arrange on your table. Home-ista’s 2012 Thanksgiving Seat Cards

Grace & Peace

Home-ista Kelly

Countdown to Thanksgiving

November 1, 2012

I’m singing… “It’s the most wonderful time of the year. There are tables to set, groceries to get, clutter to clear… It’s the most won-der-ful time of the year.”

You guys already know, that Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Even though the whole “event” can be stressful with all of the traveling and cooking. There might be strained relationships and the challenge of old family traditions vs. new ways of doing things. There is a lot of work to do and maybe not enough help to do it. But nonetheless I am still counting down the days.

This year I want to enjoy not only the final destination of dinner at 3:30pm on November 22, but I am hoping to enjoy the journey to get there.

Over the next several posts, I’ll be sharing tips, ideas, strategies and recipes to encourage you in your preparations.

Today’s tip:

Grab your calendar and begin to map out what “big” things needs to be done to have an enjoyable and meaningful time of giving thanks over a shared meal.

Do you need to travel? If yes, what’s the mode of transportation, the logistics needed to make it work. If you are headed to parts of the country that have been affected by the storm what adjustments need to be made.

If you are hosting guests, could some part of your home, benefit from a spruce up before the holiday season get going?

Where are you planning to eat? Is a plan in place for the location and guests?

If you are the primary cook for the big meal, what is on the menu? Can others help by bringing dishes? Will you try to offer healthier options? Doe you need to brush up on a dish you don’t make very often by preparing it over the upcoming weekend.

And the biggest question of all – how will I set aside time to spend time daily with God in prayer and thanksgiving remembering…

I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, And will call upon the name of the LORD. Psalm 116:17 (New King James Version)

Once you start answering the big questions, you can begin to fit these and the support activities on your calendar. The support would be if I want to be in Chicago by Tuesday afternoon, when do I need to leave to drive or fly or get there by train, and then secure the tickets, etc.

My calendar has been extremely useful for Thanksgiving preparations.

Happy Planning & Preparing

Home-ista Kelly

The song “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year was written by EDDIE POLA, GEORGE WYLE, JOHN MOSS