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11 Easy Ways To Get Your Kitchen Ready For The Holidays

holiday prep

Despite the fact that we’re well into November at this point, I have yet to do a single thing to get my kitchen ready for the rapidly approaching holidays. If you haven’t either, then at least we’re in good company, and it isn’t to late to get ready either!

In fact, I’ve broken it down into a handful of the most important tasks. Tackle one task at a time, and soon enough, your kitchen will be in tip-top shape for the holidays, regardless of how grand or intimate your gatherings will be.

11 Tips To Get Your Kitchen Ready For The Holidays

holiday prep

1. Clear Out Old Food

Clear out any old food items (especially anything past its best-by date) from your pantry, fridge, and freezer. Not only will you get rid of all those expired or unwanted things that are taking up valuable shelf space, but you’ll free up room for incoming ingredients and future culinary creations.

Be sure to clean up any sticky messes if your fridge or on your shelves if you happen to have any. (This isn’t strictly related to holiday prep, but you’re already moving things around so it’s a good opportunity to take care of those messes!)

If you’re freezer’s feeling crowded, take things out of their bulky packaging to free up more space. Discard foods that show signs of freezer burn. If you have an older freezer that needs to be defrosted on occasion, you can probably gain some valuable storage space by defrosting it now.

holiday prep

2. Check Your Spice Cupboard

Go through your spice cupboard and check the best-by dates on everything you know you’ll use for your holiday dishes. When in doubt, spices that are over a year old could probably use replacing, as well as any that don’t smell like much of anything when you open them.

Here are some spices commonly used during holiday cooking to look for and restock as necessary:

  • Poultry seasoning
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Parsley
  • Garlic
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Vanilla extract
holiday prep

3. Clean Your Oven And Dishwasher

Your oven and dishwasher are likely to get a workout in the coming weeks, so you want to make sure they’re relatively clean and in good working order for the holidays. If your oven or dishwasher is looking particularly grimy, check out my tutorials detailing how to clean each here:

holiday prep

4. Inventory Your Cookware

Making sure you have all the cookware you need (and that you know where it all is) can go a long way toward making your holiday meals more efficient. Start by taking an inventory of your pots and pans—do you know where your roaster is, and where all the lids to your pots are?

Another good thing to do is check out your cookware for cracks, chips, or broken pieces so you know what needs replacing.

holiday prep

5. Wash Your Tableware And Linens

Since a lot of our holiday pieces only comes out once or twice a year, they might be a bit dusty. It’s a good idea to pull out any special dishes, glassware, flatware and serving pieces and give them a good wash—doing it ahead of time will ensure you’re not trying to wash a bunch of large dishes during the hustle and bustle of food prep.

Take the time to wash and iron your tablecloths and napkins too. If you like to use candles on your holiday table, make sure you have enough on hand and a lighter or matches to light them with.

holiday prep

6. Get Rid Of Clutter

If you’re anything like me, once the cooking begins in earnest, you need all the counter space you can get! To help free up more workspace, go through your kitchen and remove extra items from countertops, tables and shelves to declutter.

Put all these things into a storage bin or closet so you can get them back out and replace them after the holidays. With your temporarily pared-down kitchen, you’ll have the room you need to cook and bake your holiday meals to perfection.

holiday prep

7. Sharpen Your Knives

Don’t settle for hacking up your turkey with a dull carving knife—take the time to sharpen it beforehand, along with your other go-to kitchen knives. Use either a sharpening steel, a knife sharpener, or take your knives to a local knife shop and get them sharpened by a professional.

holiday prep

8. Stock Up On The Basics

I find that if I’m going to forget about something, it’s not usually the ingredients or the table settings—it’s those everyday housewares that I didn’t think to check on! Save yourself some time and stress by making sure you have plenty of those everyday necessities. (For instance, you don’t want to finish up a big holiday meal and realize you’re out of dishwasher detergent!)

Not everyone will need all of these things, but here’s a general list of household basics you can check your stock of:

  • Trash bags
  • Kitchen string
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic wrap
  • Ziplock bags
  • Cheesecloth
  • Dish soap
  • Dishwasher detergent
  • Toothpicks
  • Batteries
  • Coffee filters
  • Paper towels
  • Napkins
holiday prep

9. Give Your Kitchen A Safety Inspection

Whether or not you’ll be expecting little ones in your home for the holidays, making sure your kitchen is safe is a smart move! But if you are expecting little ones over, you’ll want to ensure they can’t get a hold of any potentially harmful objects, such as matches, lighters, sharp utensils and household cleaners, by storing them cupboards with safety latches.

And everyone should make sure they have a functional fire extinguisher and smoke detector in their kitchen. And speaking of smoke detectors, take the time to test all the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in your house to make sure they’re working correctly. Better safe than sorry!

holiday prep

10. Give Your Appliances A Checkup

Check each appliance you plan to use, including your microwave, stove, oven, refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, crockpots, food processor, mixer and blender, to make sure they’re working and ready for action. As you assess each appliance, clean anything that could use it.

It’s also worth checking your oven temperature to make sure it’s heating up to the correct temperature. Learn more about calibrating and adjusting your oven at the link below.

Read More: How To Calibrate Your Oven For Better Baking

holiday prep

11. Consider Setting Up A Drinks Station

One thing I find helpful during holiday dinners is setting up water, sodas, and any other beverages out of the main kitchen area. That way, people can help themselves to drinks without creating a traffic jam for those of us who are working in the kitchen.

You can do this for the duration of the season, which may be especially useful if you’ll have guests staying with you for the holidays. Set up an easily accessible beverage station with your coffee maker and coffee, water kettle and tea, and all the add-ins too. Put it in your living room, dining room, or wherever makes the most sense in your house so that guests can help themselves without crowding the kitchen.

Do you do anything special to get your home ready for the holidays?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

MORE IDEAS FROM

Holidays

  • Those are all great ideas, especially for those younger and starting out. I flew by the seat of my pants starting out and can share some pretty embarrassing moments.Where were you (and the internet) back in the early 70s? One thing I’m really having trouble with is the politically correct saying “Holiday” “Holiday Table”. I beg your pardon? This is NOT a new holiday someone just invented. It’s an old Christian holiday named after Christ. Call an apple an apple! Please. I’m am not a devout Christian or even necessarily religious, but, I get a bit upset and bounce onto my soap-box when I see our traditions butchered. No, it’s not everyone’s tradition or holiday for that matter, but it’s a specific holiday that everyone enjoys. If you enjoy it and participate don’t change the name. Merry Christmas and I hope your Christmas Table and Christmas Dinner turns out perfect.

  • I like this article so much as it brings the best tips on how to prep! Now that christmas is near, i guess some of u are gonna follow these tips, and then throw a party huh? Hehehe

  • I invested in quieted china chests long ago and so when the holidays roll around I just have to take my china out and use it. It’s all kept safe and clean in my china chests. I’ve moved several times and I just place the china chests in a box and move.

  • HI, I love your blog and have been following on Pinterest for a long time. I now have your newsletter coming into my home. Great tips I have tried your homemade laundry soap, and so many of your other ideas and recipes. These are great ideas for early Thanksgiving get readies. My question for you. You have a lazy Susan pictured. Is this in the cupboard or on the counter? If on the counter what items do you keep on it?
    Thanks for your hard work. I think your format is great and easy to follow. Thanks again Sherry from Ohio

  • I was curious if you ever thought of changing the structure of your blog?
    Its very wwll written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe
    you could a little more iin the way of content
    so people could connect with it better. Youve got aan awful lot of teext for only having 1
    or 2 images. Maybe you could spce it out better?

    • Having been a fan for many years I feel you have done an amazing job and your blog is wonderful. You have gone from small and simple to professional and gorgeous. Your content has made my life richer. Thsnk you Jillee!

    • Oh, how funny! I was just thinking the opposite. I love the setup because the intro gets right to the point, and then everything I read is on topic with just enough photos for visualization. I get so tired of scrolling through a zillion pics. Those remind me of kids trying to stretch their essays.

  • My best Thanksgiving hint is to cook 2 turkeys. Instead of one 20 lb+ one, roast one 12-15 lb turkey the day before; slice it and put it in the refrigerator. That is the leftover turkey. Then, on Thanksgiving, roast another 12-15 lb turkey to present at dinner. This is much easier and you end up with more white meat. (sizes can vary according to your number of guests).

    • What a brilliant suggestion, this is the solution I have been looking for ! If I had thought of this it would have saved me many years of holiday frustration with giant birds. Another plus for this idea is that smaller birds are more tender and tastier.

    • Our family’s favorite way for the last 15-20 years has been to let our local (locally owned) grocery store cook it, slice it, and save us the broth and yucky parts for gravy. (My grandmother used the yucky parts when she made the gravy, but now that its my job, I don’t.) They don’t charge very much at all for this service and no one has the hassle! If for some reason we can’t do this, we swear by cooking bags.

  • I try to plan an event for a time when a meal isn’t necessarily expected, that way I can serve simpler foods and snacks that can often be prepared ahead of time.

  • Well I have been doing this for about 10 years now I set the dinning room table early I mean like 4 days in advance then I cover it with that clear film plastic that they sell at Wal-Mart Everything stays dust free . I can put all the little touches like place cards ,napkin holders ect that seem to be time consuming Then when its time to dine before anyone comes I remove it ..lite the candles I am ready

  • My tip for the holidays is to start early. I have been doing a little bit every day, starting back in November with making my own Vanilla Extract. I am making all homemade gifts this year including myself on the list. Doing something each day, whether a little extra cleaning, making my own Nilla wafers for the cognac ball cookies or working on some original labels for my gifts–a little each day doesn’t seem so daunting as trying to get everything done last minute!

  • I make a Menu List of all the items I will be serving & the dishes they will be served in. I set thetable the night before & put out the serving utensils & platters & bowls. I then then tape the list to a cabinet over the sink so that I will be prepared for the days festivities.

  • I plan a cooking schedule for myself. I make a list of dishes that can be made a day ahead or earlier, those that can be frozen and the ones that need to be cooked at the last minute. This gets me from start to finish and definitely organized when preparing a holiday meal. I stress less and enjoy my company more!

  • My holiday tip would be to make sure you washroom are clean and stocked up with fresh towels, toilet paper and light a warm scented candle….and most importantly have a glass of wine and enjoy everyone’s company!

  • I swear by my Cozi phone/computer app. I can keep track of all my recipes, dragging them to my meal planning calendar and to my shopping list. Then when I get to the store, I use the Cozi app to check off items as I buy them. My hubby and kids can even add last minute items to the list, and they’ll appear instantly on my phone so nothing gets left out. I have separate lists for each store (grocery, dollar, Walmart, etc.) to keep everything organized and make sure I get the best prices by planning my shopping ahead of time at the most economical store. I use the free version, but you can pay for more features with a subscription. (BTW, this is my fave tips site!)

  • My tip is to ask for help – EARLY! Before you get frustrated, irritated, bitter…that’s if you have some one who is willing to be a gracious helper, which I do. And be lavish with your thanks!

  • Freeze freeze freeze did I say freeze:)
    I have learned to freeze most of my holiday dinner ahead of time./-make it a week or so ahead but the trick is in the defrosting of food. When it’s defrost time usually a day before the party use the refrigerator to defrost then heat and serve.
    Prep a day before for the veggie tray. Bag and label trays/ dishes one wk party wask and cover.
    Hope this helps
    Lazy in tx
    Kathy

  • My TIP: When making deviled eggs, mix the egg yolks, mayo and seasonings in a ZipLoc bag. Put everything in, zip it closed and smoosh it with your hands til blended, then cut the corner of the bag and fill up the whites………………….SUPER EASY……………

  • I always make my cookie dough ahead of time and freeze it. It’s easy to find a day when I can make the dough a month ahead of time, but closer to Christmas my time gets crunched! I defrost the dough the day before I need to bake.

  • I love doing Thanksgiving potluck style. The host does the turkey so it doesn’t have to be transported, and everyone else brings a side and a pie. The result is a fabulous feast and no one is burned out.

  • If you don’t want to bake early, prep & group your ingredients the day before to save yourself time and frustration (and identify forgotten ingredients) once you get started.

  • My holiday tip: If you’re a dog owner, schedule a full grooming appointment, or bathe them yourself, before the holiday- try to get them in no later than two days before the event. That way you have one free day for any last minute errands.But your pooches will be fabulous for guests.

  • I love to make beautiful place settings that are personalized, and love to serve horderves. Lots of them, and wine, while Christmas music plays. It’s like heaven :) xo

  • My tip is to have an activity for the kiddos to do while the adults are cooking. Whether it’s a little centerpiece, place mat, or simple coloring sheet, it’s nice to have a fun and busy (and quiet-ish) Thanksgiving themed craft for the little kids to do and then show off to the adults. Along with the gluten free rolls and cornbread for my son and green bean casserole, I will be taking a big box of construction paper, tissue paper, markers, glue, and scissors to my in-law’s house :)

  • I always tell people that dinner will be served half an hour after I plan on serving it, that way I have time in case something goes wrong, and I put out simple appetizers of cheese and crackers so people have something to munch on if I run behind. If someone offers to bring something I never say no! I plan out how long each item takes to cook/bake and give myself a checklist with times, so I can remember when to start things. Anything that can be done the night before gets done then, so I have less dishes to do the day of: potatoes for mashed are peeled and cut and put in the fridge in water so I just have to change the water and boil the day of, veggies are peeled and sliced ahead of time. Dressing is made so it just has to be popped in the oven. I clean and organize my kitchen and pull down my good dishes the week before. I make sure my dishwasher is empty and clean as I go. Most important, I don’t stress about things being perfect. My family will remember time spent talking and laughing longer than they will that the rolls were a little dry.

  • My holiday tip is to remember to prepare for emergencies. I know it’s no fun, but they do happen and it’s always nice to be prepared for anything! :) Happy Holidays!

  • Several weeks ahead, I map out my menu listing all ingredients needed. Then I check to make sure I have everything or put it on my grocery list.

    Once I have the menu set, I make sure I have all the serving dishes and serving utensils required, group them together and put a note in each noting what it’s for.

    Eliminates surprises, well, mostly anyway ;-)

  • My holiday tip: always have some basic appetizers on hand so when unexpected guests show up, you have something to serve them. Crackers, nuts, olives, sparkling water, hot cocoa, a nice bottle of wine, etc. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  • I like to stick with recipes I’ve made before. Trying out new recipes for an event isn’t wise, because they might not turn out as well as you’d like.

  • Get a cooler to put drinks into. The juice for kids & pop (and other adult beverages) can take up alot of room in the fridge. This way you save the room & by keeping the cooler out of the kitchen, everyone can access the drinks without getting in your way.

  • I’m not hosting Thanksgiving this year, my sis is, so I’m not only taking a delicious sweet potato casserole, but a BIG bouquet of fall colored flowers for the host!

  • Don’t do it all your self. Everyone loves to bring a dish of their favorite recipe. You make the turkey and a few basics and let everyone else bring a dish to share. When the meal is over they can all fill their dishes with leftovers.

  • Don’t forget the four legged friends of yours or thoses of family and friends. Make sure everyone knows not to feed them from the table as many Thanksgiving foods are not healthy for pets and maybe make a “safe” place for them so they can get away from the hussle and bussle of the busy day.

  • My biggest tip is during your cooking, CLEAN AS YOU GO! It’s so much easier when you don’t have a sink full of dishes, a full trash can, dirty counter tops, and mess on the floor!

  • I plan my menu a week in advance. Also some of my guest usually bring a dish. My panty stay pretty organized with labeled containers, so all I have to do is check of what I need from the market by looking at the containers with my list of recipes. I also try to do this a week in advance as well.

  • One of my tips is to leave a basket of soap, shampoo, tylenol, antacids, lotion and other samples on the bathroom counter for guests to help themselves if they need anything.

  • During the holidays there are so many extra tasks that it’s easy to forget that special meals and gatherings are not Performances. They’re not about timing and and “getting it right” or making an impression. They’re about the people, the relationships, the growing together, and hopefully, love.
    If I get angry about the lack of help or appreciation or embarrassed by a cooking goof, I check my motives and remember the humbleness of the first Thanksgiving and the first Christmas. I need to scale it all back until there’s lots of room for kindness, forgiveness, and love.

  • Make more appetizers then the actual main meal. Most people now have allergies and picky kids, so they munch on more snacks. Plus my family is full of snackers so hardly anyone eats at the same time.

  • Just enjoy the time spent with family. Don’t make things too fussy, and cherish the moments with those you love! And remember to thank our Savior, Jesus for the gift of His Love!

  • Set up a “kiddie” table especially for the all the kids. I love that our set up is always close to the “adults” table. We get to hear all of the crazy, silly conversations the kids have & snap lots of pics of them! :-)

  • I start prep work & whatever cooking I can starting in November. If it can be prepped & frozen to make my life easier I do it. I always make sure I have yummy homemade appetizers ready to pop in oven from freezer at moments notice. It’s important to me to have time to have fun with my family & guests & not just be stuck working in the kitchen.

  • I love making home made Gluwein. It is a German tradition I have carried on since living there. I use Mogen David Concord Grape wine, put it in a saucepan with about 1/2 c. of sugar, slices of lemon, slices of orange, cinnamon sticks and whole cloves. It not only smells wonderful, it tastes wonderful!!

  • I love having homemade bread baking or fresh out of the oven when people come over. I keep a container full of bread dough in the fridge so we get the enjoyment if fresh bread without the day-of mess. Artisan bread in 5 minutes a day means my house always smells like grandpa’s kitchen.

  • Plan the menu early, get family members to pitch in with there “FAVORITE” dishes. Get as much done the day before as you can. Get the bird in the oven and finally take a 20 minute nap before the guests arrive…you’ll feel better and not so grouchy when family arrives .

  • I put together a timeline for the days leading up to the holiday – with a detailed schedule for the day of the “event”. Another related tip – I keep a little supply of gifts that can be used for hostesses, guests, neighbors, etc. Generic items like candles, holiday tea towels, little holiday books, etc are not expensive and I feel better prepared for surprises.

  • My #1 tip is to just relax and enjoy your family time! Try to get everyone involved in the cooking/serving/cleaning that way no one is left alone to do everything. It’s much better this way! If you’re inviting family over for dinner have them bring their own dishes that way you don’t have to prepare as much food. The last thing you want to do is have a stressful holiday… eat, breathe, smile.. repeat! =)

  • I always freak out about having room in the oven for all of the sides. However, many people forget to take into consideration that the turkey needs to rest for 15 minutes and then it takes us another 10 minutes to carve it. So my tip is to use those last 25 minutes to warm up or bake the other sides since most of them don’t need much time in the oven to begin with.

  • Prep as much as possible ahead of time. For example, chop peppers, celery, onions, etc, measure amount needed for recipes and put in ziploc Baggie. Next take all the little bags and put those for one recipe together Ina larger bag or bowl so they are all together.

  • This year, we are going to my Partner’s Aunt and Uncle’s house, then coming home and having our own Thanksgiving Thursday evening through Friday. The kids and I are cooking everything on Wednesday. Leftovers are better anyway, and we will have enough food to last the whole weekend!

  • I also agree to the tips about prep everything as many days in advance as possible. The table is set, silverware is clean and all serving dishes and utensils are ready for use.
    I have all the guests feel as comfortable as possible, if someone is better at pies and wants to make them, yes, bring them! We have so much food I also stock up on ziplock bags for everyone to take home leftovers. No paper plates used, just wash dishes as they are used and it is not a big mess. Enjoy the time with everyone that is wanting to help, let them. Be thankful for every single person that has graced your table with their presence.

  • Don’t forget the furniture! Double check the count of people that will be attending your soiree and make sure you have enough seats and room to make folks comfortable! Don’t forget special cases like kids and babies that may need special treatment and make sure you arrange the seats accordingly.

  • when I get ready for the holidays, I make sure I have the “memories”… mom’s stuffing, real mashed potatoes, homemade apple pie, juicy and not over cooked turkey…. homemade gravy, and fresh cranberry sauce !!

  • My tip is to make my christmas cookies early and then freeze them! This way if I have unexpected company, I pull out the cookies, put them in a gently heated oven, and then they are ready to eat! Yum!

  • My favorite entertaining tip is to ‘stage’ all the tablee, chairs, table linens, flatware, centerpieces and any special decorations or chair accents two days before the feast. We can’t cook too far in advance, but I can wash all linens/ dishware, and have them labeled so I know I have attractive serveware for each dish, along with enough salt/ pepper and gravy containers. Keeps me sane the day of the dinner so I can focus on cooking.

  • I used a counter top roaster for the turkey. It frees up oven space and gives me time to get side dishes in the oven on time. I set my table the night before and cover with a clean sheet. Remove as company arrives. Saves me time. I also set out dishes on the table so I don’t forget something.

  • After doing all you can do to have things ready, be sure to enjoy the day with family and friends. Don’t worry about things you can’t control just do what you can and make memories!

  • Clear out the coat closet so that when guests arrive, they have a place to hang their items. Otherwise, everything gets dumped and your house that you spent soooo long cleaning & making perfect, is quickly in shambles!

  • In order to prepare for all of the cooking I try to go to the grocery once and get everything I need and might need. However, I always end up making a couple more trips for forgotten items.

  • I assign “jobs” to my kiddos (greeting people, taking drink orders, acting as my runner, etc.) to keep them involved, but out of my kitchen! :) They love it and are AMAZING helpers!

  • I love your website. I check it daily. I love to decorate my table with lots of colors and textures. I use
    natural things from the out of doors as much as possible. Dishes or china, are what I collect and when at thrift shops, I’m always looking for unusual pieces to add beauty to my table settings. Hugs and smiles are always a nice addition to any holiday gathering!!

  • Love the list, I also do a menu plan and shopping list early in November for T-Day, and again on Black Friday for Christmas baking, so I can start picking up special ingredients that keep !

  • My thanksgiving tip is a tradition thats used yearly. Get a cloth tablecloth in a plain color, and have every family member or guest use a fabric marker or sharpie to write down what they are thankful for and the year. This tablecloth is brought out every year, slowly filling up with memories and blessings. Great holiday centerpiece to pull out. Happy Holidays!

  • I like to make a calendar of all upcoming events where my hubs or I are required to bring a dish. Then I decide which 1 or 2 dishes I could make that would cover all the fetes, potlucks, soirees, and parties and that’s what we sign up for.

    It’s then pretty easy to make a giant batch of sweet ‘n sour meatballs (my go-to offering), portion into the desired number of affairs, and refrigerate or freeze until needed. Then dump it into a crock pot or festive dish, heat up, and away we go. Easy peasy for us, and no one knows the difference!

  • I am purging my whole house and the kitchen was my starting point. I threw in the garbage pots and pants that shouldn’t be in anybody shelves; others things I took to garage sales, and now they’re going to donations. I’m keeping in my drawers what I like, use, and care to have it. Your article opened my eyes to my spices. Tonight they be in the trash. Ha-ha!

  • I like to cook mashed potatoes and chop/prep veggies on Tuesday and cook desserts on Wednesday. Turkey goes in the oven early Thursday morning so I have more time to relax when the guests arrive. All that’s left is making gravy and reheating foods as needed.

  • To balance the craziness of the season I try and set up the parties at my house as early as possible. I create menus and grocery list so I can pick up items when they are on sale. I also try and make sure to do as much prep as I can before hand. I keep my baking for when my girls are out of school since they enjoy doing it so much. With my prep and planning, done I can enjoy baking with them.

  • Thank to all for the wonderful and very useful ideas. I’ve already have done a few, but some of the other suggestions were “Light Bulb” ideas! We have asked our guest to bring a specific types of dishes to share. Most of our dishes will be prep or done on Wednesday. I like to use a couple of crockpot for the mash potatoes and stuffing (I finish off the stuffing in the oven for that crispy top).

    The last few years we have been cooking our brined turkey on the BBQ, which is why our guest list has grown this year. The BBQ method frees up the oven for other dishes to finish off or stay warm till dinner is served.

    To everyone, have a joyous and safe Thanksgiving Holiday with your family and friends!!

  • My favorite do-ahead meal prep is making the mashed potatoes the day before. The next day, put them in a crock pot to warm up. No one will ever know they aren’t freshly made.

  • To me the best part of welcoming people into your home for the holidays is making it look and feel like a home. Setting the mood with low lights and candles can really help. Also, I love the scents of the seasons so for Thanksgiving it’s all about the pumpkin and apple spiced candles. For Christmas is gotta be the pine and peppermint candles that fill the air with the holiday spirit.

  • My tip is to do all you can before the big day, set the table, and cover it with a sheet, make dishes that you can make ahead, clean the house on Monday before Thanksgiving, make or buy the centerpiece the week before. make a list of all the recipes you need and a list of dishes you are planning to serve so that you will remember to actually serve everything you made.

  • Whew! I needed your cleaning your oven tip a loooooong time ago, lol.
    I sure appreciate the ease of navigating your website and your quick and easy ideas! Somehow, I seem to just make things WAY too hard, as if I am not busy enough!
    Thanks for all your great tips! I love them!

  • I have several tips. 1. Find a place for the smokers outside your home, if at all possible, in a sheltered alcove Supply ashtrays and a metal bucket to throw cigarette butts and ashes.
    2. Find a room for your pets to be comfortable in. Sometimes guests are not aware that pets are or are not allowed outside…bolting pets….uneasy pests.
    3. Don’t sweat the small stuff…it happens…just enjoy your day with friends and family!

  • Make sure to have enough food and beverages, but to have leftovers than feel like there is not enough! I love putting out bowls of Andes candies too.

  • clean out silverware drawer of all unneccessary items, if your like me you have a tendency to put odd pieces in there so you can find them. put a new liner in drawer wash the silverware tray if it is washable.

  • i have a planner that i use from year to year, keep track of recipes, ideas, decorating schemes, who came who brought what etc. my plan for what to do on what day is in there, what dishes to use what works and what doesn’t is in there……my shopping list based on the recipes….that way i can just keep track os what is on sale and follow the plan. this way everything is done ahead of time, i get to watch the parade and i only need to do a few things on the actual day and i’m NOT spending the whole day in the kitchen away from family and friends

  • I plan to really enjoy this year as it is a once in a lifetime event of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving falling on the same day. Also I am employing the help of my older children to tackle all the necessary tasks! Happy Thanksgivukkah!

  • I still have small kids and we go to several different houses for the holidays, so I don’t have a great tip for entertaining. However, when I do have people over, I want my focus to be on my guests not on the house. They are coming over for me, not a sparkling house. Five years from now, will it matter if I had dust in the corner of the ceiling? To me, the memories that are made are more important.

  • I’ve been using a method of holiday preparation passed down from my grandmother.

    In addition to chopping the “holy trinity” (onions, celery, and bell peppers) and preparing cakes, pies, and side dishes days in advance for the holidays, my grandmother always stored non-perishables (recipe ingredients, canned goods, mixes, spices, condiments, etc) WEEKS in advance in a “Holiday Box” in her pantry.

    She would also “decorate” her Holiday Box with Christmas wrapping paper and used the same box for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.

  • I love planning the meal, looking for recipes, organizing my thoughts, to do this I use a note tablet.
    I like to list the menu starting with the appetizers, I make a note of where each recipe is located (the page # of the cookbook or the location in Pinterest…If possible I may print the recipe out at this point.
    From here I make my grocery list.

  • make sure you have a good bottle of wine for the cook…something to sip while you are preparing the meal!!! i like pinot noir….you’ll feel great by the time the food is ready to serve!!!

  • We do some of these basics ahead of time. The key is a clean, fully stocked kitchen before Thanksgiving week! As soon as the turkey goes on sale, we buy it before the mad rush!! Also, Zen in the diffuser…sets the tone for the day and has such a calming effect on everyone! I’ve been using it at work and it’s amazing how many comments people make when they enter my office!!

  • I like to have a beverage station where guests and family can make their own thing to drink. That area is stocked with glasses, ice, pop, beer, wine, etc.

  • family feels so special when we make our own “punch” with sparkling water and various juices. It’s always interesting what flavors we come up with.

  • My tip – I try to remind myself on the day of the event, that no matter how much I prep and plan, to not stress if it doesn’t all go as planned. My husband often reminds me to take a breath and just enjoy our family and friends.

  • I’m disorganized by nature, so I plan, plan, plan! I write lists for everything, then enjoy the satisfaction of checking off as I accomplish things. I do as much as possible ahead of time….I even roast and carve my Thanksgiving turkey on Tuesday. I arrange it in a pretty baking dish, then reheat it on T’day. THIS year, my favorite thing about Thanksgiving prep is that one of my daughters is dong most of it! We all divide up the menu, but Jackie is hosting us….for which I am thankful!

  • Mine is more of a before and after. Two weeks before the big day get ahold of everyone that may be cooking and finalize the meal plan and the necessary grocery list. I like to keep all the recipes I will be using and the list in its own folder so I am not searching for them later. One thing that is always on the list is disposable tupperware. After the meal divide the leftovers and that way everyone gets a little care package and I do not end up with packed fridge full of more food than we can eat. (Of course this wouldn’t be such a problem if we didn’t always cook enough to feed an army haha!)

  • I’m a big coffee drinker and try out different ones at times. I don’t let any of the less than favorable blends go to waste. I put unused coffee grounds in the bottom of my trash can, to help minimize odor. I may not like the taste of whatever brand, but they always smell wonderful. Just compost when the aroma subsides.

  • This isn’t really a tip on how to make the holidays easier, but I picked this tradition up from somewhere, and it has enriched out Thanksgiving every year. We love it, so here it is.
    At the end of the meal, when everyone is full and happy, we take turns around the table sharing what we are really grateful for this year. It is really surprising how much closer it brings everyone. Gratitude really is quite magical.
    Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

  • When I host Thanksgiving, I always let others bring something to share. Not quite a potluck, but everyone has their special dish they like to make, eat and share and it adds to the richness of the occasion (no one is required to bring something, but it seems they always want to!)

  • If you have kids, and your meal is scheduled a bit late, it’s good to have something simple to serve them a few hours before the meal (like mac & cheese).
    Speaking of which, don’t be so busy you forget to eat yourself! I get very cranky when I’m hungry. I’d rather eat less at the main meal than be cranky beforehand because I’m so hungry.

  • Go buy up all those bags of Candy Corn in all the yummy flavors. Dump them in a hurricane jar and make a cute label that says “Turkey Toes” and put them out for everyone to snack on at Thanksgiving for a little something sweet.

  • Put all your table setup stuff in a box prior to go day. Ironed linens, polished silverware, napkin rings, list of guests, etc… This way you just move inventoried box in day of event and it’s instant setup without the worry. Better yet, assign this setup task to someone else.

  • An hour and a half before I have to put the turkey in the oven, I bake a Pecan Pumpin Crunch. It is always a hit for dessert and it makes the house smell like heaven. And it’s easy to make!!

  • I make as much as I can ahead! Also, use homemade stock if you can- the natural gelatin is good for your bones and your stock will make everything taste so much better and adds less sneaky sodium! It is frightening how much salt is in those cans of stock on the grocery shelves.

  • I do as much make ahead as I can (meals for this week were done in the crockpot and frozen last week, so I don’t have to cook dinner and can focus on cleaning; make a couple batches of cookies and freeze; set up appetizer trays Wednesday evening and stack in the fridge). Wednesday night we watch the Grinch while I make pies – this means the kids are up late, so they will sleep in and mom can get the turkey in the oven early before anyone is up.

  • I used to spend days prepping and cooking, and now as much as I hate to admit it, I order dinner from the store. The best part about having it delivered, I have more time to take photos. I have some of the best photos…

  • I made a Christmas scrapbook as far back in the family that I could go. I included family member’s favorite dishes, favorite memories, events, other customs and trends.(How some trees with decorated in the 70’s was interesting) I pull it out each year. It’s fun to remember with family and find out what other families did. It’s a great conversation starter. I even included trivia and guess that greenery pages.

  • My advice is to get together with family and split everything up so you are only in charge of one or two things.i love it.it is so much more relaxinand enjoyable. thanks for doing another giveaway!

  • Make a chart with cooking times and temperatures of your planned food. With only one oven, I need to choose things with similar cooking temperatures. Learned this lesson the hard way! :-)

  • I always go grocery shopping the beginning of December, and stock up on all of the things I will need for Christmas. This makes the holidays a lot more enjoyable for me, when I have everything I need and I don’t need to fight the crowds.

  • I like to spread the work out over the week before the Holiday, especially the cleaning. If guests are staying with us, I tackle one room a night to get everything cleaned and prepped for our company.

  • After I plan the meal and shop for all ingredients needed, I group the non perishables together for each dish and place them in the bakeware or casserole dish I am cooking them in a week . Several days before I start making the dinner rolls and cinnamon rolls and then freeze them. If I make lasagna, I make the sauce in advance (a few days)and then assemble the lasagna the day before and refrigerate. The table is set the night before and is ready to go. I have a cheat sheet on the fridge and mark off each item and chore once it’s done. for 30 years this has been a life saver for me!!!!!!!

  • I like to set the table the night before so as one less thing to do the day of.

    Also, check out the dollar store for plastic containers so guests can take home leftovers!

  • My favorite holiday tip is to have a few planned activities for the kids. A treasure hunt complete with clues as riddles can keep kids busy for a while! The older kids now like to help the young ones solve the riddle to get to the next clue. When the weather is going to be bad I plan a craft. Funny how the adults tend to be gathered around the craft table!

  • I recommend finding as many recipes as you can that can cook in a crock pot. I have almost all my side dishes set up for the slow cooker. When the big day comes I don’t have to worry about timing everything in the oven and stovetop.

  • I keep a holiday binder this time of the year. It will have any parties or gatherings I have and what needs to be cooked and what day. I also will list chores/cleaning around the house that needs to be done so I’m not swamped. It’s also helps to save the year before to refer back to. I always make pies and desserts a day ahead.

  • My tip for the holidays is to remember, but not stress over those special diets. There are 4 in our family that have celiacs, so it is absolutely necessary to ensure those needs are met! Lots of fresh fruits & veggies really helps. I made some GF dinner rolls & they turned out great!! Now Gf pie crust & apple crisp!

  • If you are like us, empty nesters, you might want to buy a smaller turkey breast and do it in the crockpot. You can google how. It turns out really moist.

  • If, like my family this year, almost everyone has taken the week off for the holiday, take the time to spend time together away from both the kitchen and the table; you’re going to be doing enough of that in the days to come. Get to know each other again, listen to each other, really listen. Sit with the elders and learn from their experiences. Play with the children and give them your undivided attention. Put the cellphones, tablets, bluetooths, etc. away and REALLY be there with each other. This is the time and the memories that will be cherished long after the turkey and sides have all been devoured, and everyone has returned to their regular routines.

  • Make up your menu and get out all the recipes one week ahead of time. Then go through all the ingredients and make sure you have every thing you need. That will guarantee no unexpected last minute trips to the grocery store.

  • I make lots of lists, and my group of friends has a long standing agreement to make every party a joint venture so no one person has to do all the work.

  • I make all pies and cakes on Tuesday. Make dressing on Wednesday-it just seems to taste better the next day. I also make tea,lemonade, and set tables on Wednesday.

  • We bake a lot in the days before, and have the older kids do food prep at the table. First thing we prep is a veggie platter to keep snackers away from the dinner.

  • When someone says, “Should I bring (some sort of food that they consider their specialty)?” Let them. It’s what they really want to make and eat. It will make them happy and it doesn’t really matter if it doesn’t go with your planned menu or if you don’t like it. Plus, it may be that they really don’t like what you are making and want to know there will be at least one dish that they enjoy.

  • Sometimes it’s nice to get a football game on, or play some live music or signing to get a moment to tidy up or prepare for dessert or whatever the next activity is. Distraction at its finest, ha!

  • On most holidays, I like to get a good walk/run in the morning. It allows me time to organize my thoughts, release for my stress and burn some calories so I don’t fell bad about what I eat later. It also gives me the energy to make it through the day and actually enjoy it!

  • Awesome tips! I decided years ago not to stress. Just breathe and if everything is not perfect, so what? The important thing is family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  • Lists are my best friend when it comes to holiday planning. One for each of the dishes and another for ingredients required. I also try to make as much of the food earlier in the week as possible. Also, getting all the veggies chopped and ready to go beforehand is a big help.

  • When we are hosting, I make not only a menu and a grocery list, but also a time line of the big day and the day leading up to it, with start times for items that need to be cooked, etc. This makes sure I don’t miss starting the turkey so it can be cooked on time, or remember to put in the rolls in the middle of all the other pots boiling. It really helps keep the day organized.

  • I pre prep everything I can, measure things ahead, cut veggies ( not potatoes) and get snack trays ready. Disperse the work so less to do on the big day! I could use some help, and that card would help ( maybe get some tropical traditions coconut oil)

  • I love having my grown children and grandchildren over to help me get my tree and lights put up and decorate the tree with Christmas music playing int he background. Also getting together to do some baking.

  • If guests are spending the weekend with you, assign someone the task of preparing a simple breakfast each day to give the hostess a break. She’ll be exhausted after the big meal and clean up. It’s no fun to play short order cook as guests roll out of bed the next day, a few at a time. Make a group decision to have a help yourself buffet of cold foods, or a sit down together and get it over all at once breakfast. If you vote for the latter, decide on a time and make sure everyone has an alarm clock so they stick to the agreement. Whoever is last to the table does the dishes. Skip breakfast and you’re locked out of the kitchen until lunch.

  • While it’s easy to get caught up in holiday stress, it could be avoided. Precut all the veggies and freeze them. Make your casseroles ahead of time and freeze them. Order your pies from Baker’s Square (they are as good as home-made). This way on thanksgiving day all you have to do is put the turkey in the oven and thaw the rest. Who wouldn’t like a stress-free holiday!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  • I like to put all of the ingredients for a dish together in that dish. I place them in my spare rooms if I have to. If it is not refrigerated, it gets placed in the cooking dish with any other ingredients to save me steps later. I usually do this when I unpack the groceries to save a step and also see what I have forgotten.

  • I always start my holiday planning by working a timeline that ends the day before the event. I list all my cleaning, shopping, prepping, and cooking on a list and work back from the holiday so on the holiday I am free to cook the things that can not be prepared early. That leaves time to relax and enjoy my day with my family and friends!

  • there are several recipes that we love for both Thanksgiving and Christmas so I prepare for both meals at the same time to stock up the freezer with the side dishes. (Mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, sausage stuffing, and green bean casserole, plus homemade cranberry sauce) Makes Christmas time so much easier to enjoy baking and frosting cookies and such since I have most of the meal already taken care of.

  • As my children are now adults and our numbers are increasing which is one of our greatest blessings, I’ve asked each family to bring at least one thing to share. I always end up spending so much time on my feet that I’m exhausted come the day of. I’m trying to avoid that this year. Hope everyone has a blessed Thanksgiving.

  • I cook, peel and mash sweet potatoes the day before and put them in a casserole dish. On Thanksgiving I just have to prepare the pecan topping and bake. I also assemble the green bean casserole (except for the fried onions) and cheesy potatoes the day before to eliminate mess and stress the day of the big meal. I also make the cranberry sauce a couple days in advance. The night before I set the table. I feel so much more organized when I only have to schedule baking times for the hot dishes and get the cold things out on Thanksgiving day. It’s so much nicer to serve a meal with a relatively clean kitchen.

  • One of my favorite tips for all of the holiday cooking is to use the crockpot in creative ways. This year I’m making garlic mashed potatoes Thanksgiving morning, and placing them in the crock pot (with a little extra butter) to keep them hot and ready to serve… And it’s just nice to know I won’t have to worry about mashing potatoes at the last minute.

  • We have Christmas at my sister’s every year. Fortunately she only lives 2-3 miles way. Everything that can be prepared the day before is and left at my sister’s. Anything that will not spill is brought to my house for the next day. My mother gives strict instructions on what oven tempuratures and times each dish takes and which dishes can be cooked together. When the food at my house is done, we drive it over to my sister’s where the finishing touches are done. This cuts our cooking time in half!

  • I got tired of digging for the old traditional recipes at the last minute so I have put together a book which is divided into each holiday. When I need to make my grocery list and/or begin cooking I have everything in one place. I am now putting together a duplicate book for my daughter to add to her hope chest.

  • My tip is not necessarly for thanksgiving but more a prep for Chriatmas. We put all the itwms we want to pack away for decoraring to the side. As we empty boxes of decorarions we put the year round items in them so they are out of the way.

  • I put any pantry items on the counter the night before. All frozen items are put in the same area, in the same freezer. Once the turkey is in the oven, time to prep for the rest. I like the idea from Darren (above) of lighting candles or boiling fruit peels to scent the air. Thank you for all your great ideas. Have a great family Thanksgiving.

  • Many people fret too much about the insignificant things such as making sure the table is set just right or this or that is perfect. Thanksgiving is a time to spend with family and be thankful. This is what truly matters! No one will remember if the cool whip wasn’t sitting perfectly on top of the pumpkin pie, but they will remember if you spend more time with that pie than with them!

  • This is such a helpful list, and I don’t know what I could add to it to share. But, I like to delegate that way I’m not doing all the work myself. That is my best prep tip…

  • I make sure I wash and press ny table cloths and napkins. I always do as much preparation ahead of time as possible so that I can enjoy the holiday without getting stressed! Our family does a potluck style thanksgiving since no one has enough ovens to cook everything at once. :-)

  • December is so busy that thorough house-cleaning is nearly impossible, so if guests are coming over and you haven’t been able to get the house in ship-shape, keep the lighting low by using the lights on your Christmas tree and strategically placed candles. If you have a dimmer switch on your lamps and/or overhead lights, that works, too! This also creates a warm atmosphere.

  • I plan in advance what will go in each serving dish, I set up 3 crockpots on the patio, and use my grill to “bake” my meats outside on my patio. That leaves more space inside for serving inside and frees up my oven for side dishes and breads. I try to do as much advance work as possible, so I spend the day with family and friends instead of in the kitchen. I try to use good refrigerator management so that I have room to thaw my meats and store my fruits and veggies, but my poor fridge is always stuffed. This is the one time of the year where I wish I had an extra refrigerator!

  • I start preparing a few day’s before Thanksgiving, the night before I peel and dice my potato’s and soak them in a pan of water in the fridge. I dice up my celery and onions for my oyster dressing and soak them in the fridge also. I have all my baking done the day before and the turkey in the oven overnight on 200 degree’s and so on Thanksgiving I just have to do a few small things and i’m finished. This way I have more time to spend with the family.

  • I have difficulty with organization and time management. The things that help me out are doing a lot of the housework the weekend before the big day so I can focus better. I like to bake the day before and cut some of the vegetables to have ready for T-Day. The most important part is enjoying the time with the loved ones!

  • I try to make as much ahead of time as I can. I make my noodles 2 weeks ahead and freeze. Make my pies the night before. Anything I can do ahead of time works, so that I am not exhausted by the time my family arrives!

  • I count my blessings while I am preparing and cooking. I love sharing new ideas. I also go over the old recipes with my children and grandchildren helping me cook. I tell them the story behind the recipes, and any little extra secret that is not written on the card.

  • My tip is to be sure and have the EO’s on hand!!! I have as much prepped as I can before hand and I try and breathe and relax. I think this year we are going to try a new Holiday tradition, even though I don’t know what that is yet!

  • Plan simple meals the week of Thanksgiving. I do a lot of soup & sandwiches (Panini’s) and Crock pot meals. It give me extra time to get all the other things on my list done.

  • Preparation Tip #1: Locate key to your china cabinet several days before your big dinner! My key has disappeared, the cabinet builder is no longer in business and I don’t know how to pick the locks.

    Tip # 2: Have disposable paper plates and saucers, cups and plastic forks on hand
    in case # 1 doesn’t work out.

  • Have little dots or something ready to put on the bottom of platters and dishes people bring so you can identify the owners later after the food is cleaned up and put away. Also let go of it when the day arrives, there is nothing more you can do what will be will be and what’s most important is that you get to relax and enjoy your family and friends and they you. Trust me everyone will eat and everyone will enjoy themselves especially if they get to enjoy you as well as each other.

  • My favorite tip has already been mentioned but I’ll repeat it. As an aging Mom and Grannie, my perspective on some things has changed over the years. Spending time with my family and loved ones is far more important than cooking to impress and exceed.

    It seems that our holidays are so much more enjoyable when everyone is relaxed, helping out here and there, and there aren’t so many dishes prepared than we could possibly eat. It’s about time together and counting our blessings, and enjoying the good foods.

    Do as much as is possible ahead of time, take care of yourself, take – and have someone else take – lots of pictures, candid and posed.

    And as someone else said, BREATHE!

    Hope each and everyone of you has a blessed Thanksgiving.

  • I do a lot of cookies, and instead of freezing each kind in its own tin, I have a few large tins that I put an assortment of all my cookies in. So when I want to do a plate of cookies, I grab a large tin and use everything in it.

  • Keep a snack area on your table or in the refrigerator. Guests sometimes want a late night snack. I keep cookies or cake slices on the table. Individual juices, waters, fruit readily available and easy to access in the frig.

  • My tip… know what you love to do for entertaining…
    If you love to cook sit down dinners, invite people over for dinner.

    If you are into a bit more freedom in your party, do a bunch of appetizers and let people eat what they want…

    I vary from year to year but have learned to trust my gut on which one to do each year.

  • I always create a menu two weeks ahead, prep the day before, have a glass of wine while cooking, and enlist all willing hands to help. It’s always a family affair!

  • Prep everything possible ahead of time. Slice, dice, chop and label all the bits you can. Keep it simple. Thanksgiving is about family so don’t spend all your time in kitchen.

  • I have a little simmer pot I use to scent the house. I add whole cloves and orange peels to the water. Doesn’t take long till the whole house is scented.

    I actually haven’t hosted the meal for several years now which is good in a way. It’s just too much for me these days both financially and energy wise since being on SSDS. I do however bring a large beautiful salad to whomever is hosting. It’s always a hit since it is chock full of goodies like yellow & red bell pepper, Jerusalem artichokes, celery, jicama, finally chopped cauliflower, broccoli & home grown alfalfa sprouts. My budget is able to handle this due to the wonderful farmers market in my city. They have super low prices & I love helping the local farmers. Some of them travel as much as 3 hours to get there. I am so thankful to them. They are a real blessings.

    A very Happy Thanksgiving to you & your family Jillee.
    I am thankful to you for all the great tips you have been providing ! :-)

    Blessings,
    Liliane

  • My tip is to divide up making the meal between family members. My brothers (all grown with our own families) and I each claim what we will be contributing to the meal, that way no one person has to feel overwhelmed making everything. It also took all the pressure off my parents so they could enjoy the grandkids.

  • Keep it simple. Have foods made in advance. Use crock pots. Sometimes a full blown meal is too much if families are going to different families that day. Dips and finger foods are great to have for people coming and going. Time spent with others is precious, that is what should be important, not the crazy details or perfect meal.

  • Thanks for all your tips, I smiled as I read your post as I just cleaned my oven yesterday and plan to clean out the fridge today. I would love to have your gift certificate to replace some of my flatware

  • These are some great tips!! Thanks :) One thing I like to do is to purchase, or better yet, create a game for the children to play. This helps give the adults time to visit, cook, ect. You can create a scavenger hunt in the yard for the older kids and buy a little $5 game at walmart for the little ones. The game they really seem to like is that elephant one where the little butterflies fly out of the trunk and the kids catch them. If you are in a crafty mood you could make a stand with a scenery background and make a bunch of felt props and people for the little ones to stick to the board and create a sort of puppet show. Just some ideas to keep the kids entertained without having to stick them in front of the T.V.

  • When my husband and I were first married, I accidentally cooked the turkey upside down. Now I do it intentionally because it makes the white meat so tender. :)

  • We are hosting Christmas, and we have a big house we are renting… SO we have room for all. However, because this is not our permanent home, there are several things that won’t look so “homey.” Regardless, we will set up a long table to eat at, family will bring side dishes, grandma will brings center pieces and table cloths, and the day before I will be taking a detox bath courtesy of Jillee’s home made recipe that I have been using for about a year now.

  • My tip for those in warmer climes is to take the celebrations outdoors!! I live in Northern AZ and while we can get snow in Nov… last year it was perfectly beautiful and we took our Thanksgiving to the Lake and enjoyed grilling our pre-cooked turkey legs and prepped veggies outdoors. We played card games, took a hike, paddled our kayaks, played badminton and ate and ate and ate! AND no one’s home had to be cleaned and then trashed by a bunch of guests, and on top of all that we had the lake to ourselves of course so it was pretty special and fantastic all the way around. We plan for a repeat performance this year if the weather cooperates!

  • In my family, we always try to take a final look at the menu and cut it down by a couple of dishes. There is always too much food anyway, and even cutting the menu by 1-3 things can be a big help on stress level and enjoyment. Happy Holidays!

  • I do some of the prep up to a week before. I always keep chopped onions and bell peppers in the freezer since I put some in almost everything I cook. I replenish my stocks before major events. Pie crusts can also be made and frozen a week in advance.

  • Send the kids out with my husband for a few hours on Thanksgiving morning. Gives me time to get everything in the kitchen started so we can all sit and watch the parade together when they get back.

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. Really, it’s not worth it.
    Oh, and alcohol for the time you spend with crazy relatives-you know, the ones that drive you nuts.

  • Work as a family. Let your children watch you work and teach as you go. The Monday before Thanksgiving we all hit the family room. A list is created of all that needs to be cleaned, organized or fixed. All of us pick what to do and in record time the room is clean and ready for family.

  • I like to make as many things as possible ahead of time. Potato salad can be made the day before. Also pies. I get my Mac and cheese assembled the day before, leaving just the baking for Thanksgiving day. We have ham rather than turkey so no cooking there. We try to make it as easy as possible so family can spend time together.

  • I like to make sure I have a pumpkin pie alternative like ice cream or cupcakes for the kids. Little ones tend not to be a fan of pie!
    I also suggest spending some time in your guest room if you are going to have out of town guests. Make sure the clock is set correctly, extra blankets & towels, bottled water or a carafe for them so they don’t have to fumble around in the dark, reading material available, etc. Would you want to stay in your guest room?

  • I loved everyones comments and am happy to report my table is set. Husband is frying 2 turkeys and oysters. all here and he is in charge. My guest are bringing all of the sides. Ordered bread and will pick up on Weds..which leaves me with time to pamper myself. Nails, hair, cloths, reading, meditating and spending time with my daughter before she goes to school in January. I am also scheduled to sit with a friend weds morning which is a joy in itself. I wish all a blessed holiday and look forward to Thursday at 2. I feel so blessed to be able to have 20 friends over to share a day of Thanksgiving with. Love and Light Patty