You make it all happen. It’s a “shake and bake” holiday and while someone small or someone bearded might be able to say “and I helped!,” let’s just be honest: you were the glue that held it all together. But, when it’s down to the hour and guests are piling in, who or what is holding you together?
Below are 7 tips that will help make your Thanksgiving prep more relaxing and give you an opportunity to actually sit still and enjoy the feast:
1. Let go of perfection. Think of it this way: It’s just a big dinner with friends and family at a decorated table. The press won’t be taking interviews, the paparazzi have no interest in shots of your place settings, and your guests won’t be reviewing you on Yelp.
2. Set a simple table (and set it early). Set out your linens, dishes, and silverware the night before. Don’t overdo the décor. Let the meal take center stage. Not a single soul is going to remember the wreaths you spent too much on or the candles that gave off that holiday ambience or the seating arrangement name cards you spent far too long working your calligraphy magic on. These people want good food and good company. You give them that and the table might as well be decorated with pencil shavings for all they care.
3. Prepare as much as possible in advance. Stuffing, pies, soups, and even bread rolls can be prepared a day in advance. There’s no reason to set yourself up for undue stress in the kitchen over dishes that will taste the same whether they’re made the day-of or the day before. A gentle reheat never hurt anybody. Shhh. It’s our secret!
4. When the guests arrive, delegate tasks to 1-3 people. Choose your favorite Thanksgiving entrée or side and give the menial, less enjoyable tasks to someone else. You’re not to peel, chop, or stir. Let them be your hands, eyes, and nose while you focus elsewhere. Let others help you so that you will have time and energy to spare.
5. Send everybody out of the house or assign something entertaining for a short while just before the turkey is ready. Take this time to freshen up and relax. Sip some wine. Breathe. Gather yourself before everyone is herded into the feast.
6. Set up a beverage/appetizer/dessert table that is self-serve. Once you sit down to the meal, you should be able to sit for the remainder of that meal and enjoy yourself.
7. Never refuse dishwashing offers. They dirtied those plates, they can certainly wash them, too. It is a kindness when you let others be kind to you. It’s mutually rewarding and you rob them of a blessing when you refuse the way in which they choose to express their gratitude and love for the heartfelt meal you prepared. It’s Thanksgiving, after all. Let them give thanks!
Do you have more tips you could add to this list? Comment below!