Wednesday, November 14, 2012

countdown to turkey day - thanksgiving checklist

Thanksgiving is one week from tomorrow! Does anyone else feel like school just started up again? To really prepare, if you haven't already started, I put together a checklist to make sure everything gets done.  This is our first year hosting (and my first time making a turkey!), so I'm very excited!

1.  Plan your Meal.
Will it be the traditional Thanksgiving Turkey, or something else?  
Do you need to have appetizers?
Are you like us, and having people over all day, and need to plan breakfast as well?

Do any of your guests have allergies that you need to accommodate for?  

Our guests this year will be my parents and brother, so they have each offered to bring something.  Our meal plan looks like this:
2. Grocery Shopping
Buy the items that you can right now.  Looking at my list, I only need to wait on the fruit.  Most grocery stores are matching other stores' ads, so you don't have to run all over town.  Just look through each ad, find the best deals and make a list.  Then, go to your favorite store and show them the ad to match the prices.

3. Seating & Furniture
This will depend on how many guests you have.  Do you need to rent/borrow an extra table from someone.  Do you need to set up a kids table?  It will be just the 5 of us this year, so our dining room table will accommodate without having to make other arrangements.  Also, do you need to setup some type of sideboard to be used for pitchers of water, or all the extra food that won't fit on the table?

4.  Thaw your Turkey
Butterball recommends 1 day of refrigerated thawing for every 4 pounds that your turkey weighs.

5. Supplies
Check to make sure you have all the supplies to cook and serve your food.  Do you have a roasting pan, baking dishes, dinnerware, cutlery, serving ware, or stemware for everyone?  For us, I need to pick up a disposable roasting pan, a basket for rolls, a gravy boat, turkey baster, and serving ware.  I'm also going to ask my parents if we can borrow their electric knife for carving.  Make sure all these items are clean and set to go (special dinnerware and cutlery can get pretty dusty when they haven't been used in 11-12 months!).

6. Decorate
Decide how you are going to decorate, and get those items.  Do you have enough napkins for everyone? Do you need place cards? I recommend not having too much decoration on the table, because there needs to be room for the food.  This is our table for the big meal
7. Make a Cooking Schedule
Figure out what time your meal will be at, and when everything needs to be prepped and started.  If you have assistance, make a list of tasks for each person to do so everything will go smoothly.  

8. Clean Fridge/Freezer
Make sure you have room for all the food you are going to be making, and all the leftovers there will be. Not to mention any food that is brought by friends and family, and not taken with them.  Regarding leftovers, I also recommend purchasing dollar store tupperware so that you can just give your guests their leftovers without them worrying about getting the containers back to you.

9.  Clean Your House
If you have a cleaning checklist, this will be a breeze, because you just have to follow your normal routine of things.  You may have to move up your vacuuming to Wednesday, instead of Friday, but overall, it shouldn't be too stressful.  If you don't have a system in place, make a list of everything that needs to be cleaned, and assign tasks to each family member.  There's no need for you to do all the cooking AND cleaning by yourself!

10. Your Front Porch/Entry
Make sure the front of your home is welcoming for your guests when they arrive.  Do you have something outside that is decorative, like a fall wreath? Sweep/shovel the front steps/walkway as well.
Also be sure that you have a place for shoes, if guests wish to take them off if they are wet, or at least a place for them to wipe them off.  And be sure to have a space for coats/purses. I suggest clearing out some space in the front closet for their coats.  It's fine to take these items as your guests arrive and put them on a bed in another room, but I always feel awkward getting something from my purse if it is in someone else's master bedroom. Oh, is that just me?

11. The Night Before
Do as much as possible before the actual day.  For me, I will make cranberries, set out the roasting pan so it is set to go, peel potatoes and keep in the refrigerator, prep appetizers/snacks in their serving bowls, and fill pitchers of water and put in fridge.  With as much done ahead of time as possible, you will {hopefully} be able to enjoy yourself and spend time with your guests.

12.  Have a Good Time
Even though this holiday is a lot of work, try not to let it stress you out.  Ask for help if you need it; your guests will be more than happy to assist.

1 comment:

  1. I wish I hadn't set myself such a large list of "to do's" before all my guests arrive!!! You seem to have been smart with your whole month being a prep month!!!


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