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Tips for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | November 21st, 2016 | Cooking Basics
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woman-having-a-glass-of-wineIt’s three days until Thanksgiving, but that doesn’t mean that you need to feel stressed. There are many ways to make this an enjoyable holiday for yourself and your guests. Although we’ve turned this into a food-focused holiday, more than likely your guests are looking forward to the time spent together.

So, as you’re prepping for Thanksgiving, whether it’s your first or fourteenth time hosting, here are a few ideas to help keep you sane.

  • Know your culinary strengths. More than likely you can roast a turkey, so that’s one less concern. (Need to know if the turkey’s done? Check out this article.) However, you don’t need to make everything from scratch. If you are a good baker, feel free to make pies. If baking isn’t your thing, ask a guest to bring one or just buy one at the grocery store.
  • Know how much time you have available. I love cooking and, as such, leave a chunk of time available during Thanksgiving week to make many homemade dishes. If time is tight, ask for help from guests or use more store-bought items.
  • Keep in mind that some dishes are incredibly easy to make and require little time. If you’re going to try one homemade dish, make cranberry sauce. (Recipe coming on Wednesday) It’s simple and will allow you to crow that “It’s homemade.”
  • Don’t set expectations too high. Yes, everyone envisions a scene from Rockwell, but let’s be honest. Almost no one has a Thanksgiving that looks like that, so don’t be unrealistic. Make a day that’s warm and enjoyable for all but don’t expect perfection. There’s no shame in serving dinner on paper plates because you don’t have enough dishes for all. Don’t have enough wine glasses for all? Ask someone to bring a few with them. Who cares if the table settings match?
  • Make sure you leave time in the day to enjoy your family and friends. If that means cooking one less menu item or leaving the dishes in the sink for a while, so be it. I have spent holidays where I focused on the menu too much and at the end of the day realized I didn’t spend a lot of time with the people.

Spend a few moments, review your Thanksgiving plan, and take a deep breath. Thanksgiving isn’t the Olympics of food.

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