As your guest list begins to grow and family and friends start to pour in, you may find yourself in a stressed out panic. There’s is so much to do, so many people, and so little time. So when store bought pies, boxed stuffing, and solo cups aren’t an option (THEY ARE NEVER AN OPTION!), here are some tips to get you through.
- Maybe the most brilliant idea I’ve ever heard comes from my friend Andrea, Pie Wednesday. Gather the family for pie making Wednesday, but be sure and start early. Everyone is always too full for much pie Thursday, so you make the pies Wednesday, but you make double so that you can cut into half of them Wednesday evening and enjoy them properly. Plus it’s a fun thing to do all together.
- Get your food prepped the night before. You can get your seasonings or herb butters for your bird all ready to go, your bread made for your stuffing, and even some of your casseroles together the night before. If it can be done early, do it!
- Ditch the fancy China. I know, I love using my China as much as the next girl, but if you have more than 20 people it’s just not worth it. Plus, who had China for 20? And no, I’m not talking paper plates and solo cups. Instead opt for pretty China patterned plastic plates and plastic crystal wine glasses. You don’t have to go tacky to save yourself from doing dishes.
- Be creative with seating to get everyone together. Card tables don’t look like card table when covered with a table cloth, and if you have to move furniture, it’s OK. Having everyone together around the same table is far more worth it.
- Set the table and decorate the night before. Everything just seems beautiful and effortless when you walk into a home with a beautifully set table. You feel like a guest of honor. That is how you want your guests to feel, that is why you’ve invited them isn’t it? So get it done the night before, you’ll thank yourself on Thursday.
- Let there be wine. There are TONS if quality budget wines out there, find one and stock up. Let’s face it, we all like each other better with wine.
- Don’t overcook the bird! I’m personally a briner, but if the bird stresses you out, there are very popular paper bag methods where you literally do nothing but sick a frozen turkey in a bag and cook it, and they have awesome reviews. Or, order your turkey. You can order whole, smoked, perfectly cooked birds from your local BBQ restaurant or even your local grocery store. Place that lovely breast on a platter, and no one has to be the wiser.
- Share the responsibilities. Either let people bring side dishes or have the family and friends arrive early to help. There is nothing like cooking together to create bonds, and it really is a lot of fun.
- Don’t be a football snob. People love their football OK, so plan the big meal before our after with plenty of time to catch the big game. Have a place for viewing the game all picked out and ready with snacks and beer on hand.
- Find time to relax and enjoy the day with your guests. No one wants to feel like they are making their host run around like a crazy person. The day is about being thankful, so find the time to spend it with those you are most thankful for.
The fact that I’m having 30 people over for Thanksgiving in just a matter of days inspired me to come up with this very strategic plan. I hope it can help you.