Thanksgiving can be stressful and we can lose sight of what’s important. With some easy steps, you can have a stress-free Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving can be a very stressful time, especially if you are hosting. The turkey always takes longer to thaw and to cook than planned, the store is always out of an ingredient you have to have, the potatoes boil over, someone gets sick, the list of things that can and often do go wrong is endless.
There are some steps you can take to have a stress-free Thanksgiving though. Holidays should be enjoyable for everyone involved, not just the ones sitting on the sofa watching football.
Tips for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving
Have a plan and write it down.
And not on a piece of scratch paper you will likely lose! Even better, check out my Thanksgiving planner and putting it on a clipboard or in a binder. You can also use your phone, just make sure it’s something that won’t get lost. And check out the free 3-day Organized Thanksgiving email course to help you stay on track.
Give your kitchen a good deep cleaning at least a week ahead.
Also, make sure your fridge is clean and as empty as possible. You’ll need to do some more cleaning closer to the day but if you have the deep cleaning done ahead of time it will be much easier.
Prep food ahead of time.
Many Thanksgiving dishes can even be made weeks ahead and frozen. Many casserole side dishes work well for this, even homemade cranberry sauce (I divide my recipe and leave half in the freezer for Christmas.) and homemade rolls. Just remember to thaw in time. Also, cutting up any veggies ahead, shredding cheese, and tasks like that can make a big difference.
Have guests bring a dish.
In my family, Thanksgiving is always a potluck. We have a large family and one person cooking all of the food would be a nightmare. Everyone signs up ahead of time for what they want to bring making it easier and more affordable for all involved. If a potluck isn’t your thing at least consider asking guests to bring a dessert or appetizer.
Don’t try new recipes on Thanksgiving.
If you want to try something new test it out before Thanksgiving. You don’t want the stress of a new recipe that doesn’t turn out. Small changes to recipes you’ve used are okay but avoid totally new dishes on the day of.
Use Pinterest with caution.
Pinterest is great for finding recipes but it can also lead to an overcomplicated menu in no time. Try to stick to simple but delicious recipes. Thanksgiving is all about comfort food, it doesn’t need to be fancy. I cook Thanksgiving dinner for my husband, my in-laws and myself and have been known to plan several side dishes and multiple desserts. This causes unnecessary stress. Now I just stick to everyone’s favorites.
Plan for leftovers.
Thanksgiving leftovers can get old quickly if you don’t have a plan to use them in creative ways. This is when Pinterest can be your friend. One of my favorite ways to use leftover turkey and vegetables is in a pot pie.
Clean as you go.
Fill and sink with hot soapy water and have the dishwasher empty. The more cleanup you can do while you are working the less time you will spend cleaning after.
Ask for help!
You don’t have to do it all. Even if it’s as simple as asking guests to take their plates to the kitchen. This is your holiday as well and you deserve time to enjoy it.
Remember why you are celebrating.
The most important thing is to spend time with your loved ones. It’s hard to do that if you are stressed and in the kitchen all day. Ask for help when needed and give yourself grace! Thanksgiving mishaps often make the best stories so if they happen, try to just laugh it off and roll with it.
Another part of Thanksgiving that can be stressful is the cost. Check out Thrive Market for some really great deals on natural Thanksgiving ingredients. They have everything from turkey brine to gluten-free stuffing.