With Thanksgiving just a few days away people everywhere are stressing out, making plans, setting menus, and cleaning house. Shouldn’t Thanksgiving be a time of relaxation, reflection, and thankfulness? Well, tell that to the host. If you’ve ever hosted a house full of family and friends you know just how stressful it can be. Here are 7 shortcuts to help you become the “hostess with the mostess”.
1. Make dishes ahead of time
Don’t be afraid to cook as much as possible ahead of time. It is virtually impossible to cook 14 dishes of food the day of Thanksgiving. First and foremost you probably don’t have enough oven and stove top space. Many dishes are fine to cook ahead of time and freeze. Then all you have to do is warm them up.
2. Outsource some of the dishes
Sometimes it just makes sense to let others do the heavy lifting for you. One of the biggest time consumers when cooking is the turkey. Why not pre-order a turkey from a local shop. Many organizations will smoke turkeys for fundraisers during Thanksgiving. In these situations you’d be giving to a good cause and saving yourself 4-5 hours of prep and cook time.
3. Use charms or sharpies
When you have 25 people mingling in the house there are going to be cups and drinking glasses everywhere. Have you heard this before “is this my cup?”. Try wine glass charms to help people keep up with their drinks. However, if simplicity is your game, get red solo cups and have everyone write their name on their cup with a sharpie. This route will save you from having to wash a load of dishes.
4. Paper plates
Speaking of not having to do dishes, use paper plates. I know this doesn’t sound elegant but people are there really there for the food and fellowship. You can buy some sturdy and nice paper plates that will do the trick. Once everyone is done all you need is a big trash bag. This will give you more time with your guests.
5. Plan activities
You are going to need space to work and with everyone in and out of the kitchen it can be almost impossible to get the grub ready. Have someone in charge of planning some games for the kids, turning on the the football game for the adults, and an area for socializing. In a nice way, make it clear the kitchen is off limits!
6. Set up the food line
Instead of trying to cram 27 bowls of carbs on your dinner table, set up a food line. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in the kitchen. If you need to, borrow a long fold up table to set up the food line. You can put a nice table cloth on it along with some Thanksgiving party favors and have everyone serve themselves. This will keep the line flowing and the people happy.
7. Designate eating areas
Unless you have a small family, you probably won’t be able to get everyone around a single table. Have eating areas set up for the children, older adults, etc. Think about the areas of your house you want people to eat and where you don’t. Maybe you have a covered patio or a bonus room. Giving your guests enough room to move around and eat will keep everyone happy……and thankful.