Thanksgiving is the holy grail of holidays centered around an amazing meal. Hosting Thanksgiving is an honor, but for busy parents it also is stressful. With many demands for your time, pulling off this monumental meal is a big task. However, with a well organized plan and the ability to delegate, you can make this holiday memorable for the right reasons.
Plan Your TableA lot of the work can be done the week leading up to Thanksgiving. The more you do ahead of time, the more you can reduce your stress and increase the chances it will be a holiday you actually enjoy.
Start the week before by making sure your serving dishes and special flatware are ready to use. Get your special linens ready as well. If you need to purchase some, do so well ahead of time online or in the store so they don't run out in the last-minute rush. Because the dining table is the heart of the event, order an eye-catching centerpiece. A fresh floral arrangement with earthy, warm tones will beautifully complement your meal. With so many other duties to focus on, order an arrangement online to save you time to focus on meal prep.
Create Your MenuWhen choosing what dishes to make, delegate some items to your guests. People love to contribute to a big meal. Lighten your load by asking guests to bring rolls, pie or an appetizer. Once you’ve chosen your menu, make a detailed shopping list and organize the items according to sections of the store so you’ll have an efficient visit. Include time-saving items such as stuffing starters on your list. If you want to elevate the dish, add fresh herbs and veggies and make it your own.
Start CookingJump start the meal by prepping fruits and veggies the day before Thanksgiving. This is a great time to have your children help and they'll be excited to be included in the special event. Let them wash the produce and create special compound butters, such as an herb butter for the turkey or a cinnamon and cranberry butter for the rolls. They also can measure and mix the spice rub you’ll use on the turkey. Once they’ve finished in the kitchen, have your kids help set the table. They can fold napkins, lay out the flatware and create special place cards shaped like Autumn leaves for guests. Older children can write a menu to display.
While they are busy creating, you can prep and cook your side dishes. Try to make the majority of these the day before Thanksgiving. If you aren’t able to dedicate time to a brine, prep your turkey and use the herb compound butter to rub under the skin. The butter will make your turkey extra moist and flavorful. Place the turkey in a roasting pan in your refrigerator the night before.
Complete the Finishing TouchesWhen the big day arrives, put your children to work so you can focus on the finishing touches. Your kids can make appetizers like a veggie platter shaped as a turkey or fruit kebabs. Be sure to reheat side dishes in plenty of time. Warm mashed potatoes in a slow cooker to save room in the oven for other dishes.
If guests arrive early, put them to work making a sparkling Thanksgiving sangria. While your turkey rests, join your guests and congratulate yourself for the amazing meal you are all sure to enjoy.