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We all want to have a great Thanksgiving without killing ourselves in the process, right? In the spirit of Breaking Busy, here are 30 tips to help you have a stress-free, organized and happy Thanksgiving this year.
1. Order as much as you can in advance and have it delivered to your doorstep! I love Amazon Prime. I order everything I can online and avoid the chaos and busyness of stores. Talk about Breaking Busy. Can I get an amen?!
Sign up for Amazon Prime here.
2. Email your guests and ask about food allergies and any potential issues that may come up. (Who knew that weird cousin Fred is *allergic* to water. He only drinks Sprite.) Let them know you will be working on the menu plan and will send out details soon.
3. Plan your menu at least two weeks early. This gives you time to order supplies. Here are some sample menus for you: Food Network, Southern Living and Country Living.
4. Order your turkey two weeks early, too. And check that your roasting pan is big enough to cook that thing. We love this giant roasting pan.
5. Assign food prep duty to your guests. Once you know what your main menu is, email your guests individually and assign a type of dish to bring to the meal. And even if you secretly hate it, bite your lip and be glad you don’t have to do everything. 🙂
6. Ask some guests to bring dishes that you don’t have to reheat. Your oven is busy enough, amirite?
7. Assign drink duty to your guests. That’s right, tell cousin Joe he needs to bring three gallons of apple cider, tell Martha to bring hazelnut coffeemate and tell your neighbor to bring over a jumbo pack of disposable cups for the kids table.
8. See what recipes you can make a day early. Here is a slideshow from Real Simple with 24 make ahead dishes.
9. See what all you can cook in a slow cooker. Click here to see the full list.
10. Look at your supplies. Look in your cabinets for any rarely used spices and ingredients and see what you need to order.
11. Order everything you can now. Seriously, It will make your life so much easier. (I can’t tell you enough how handy a working meat thermometer is..don’t ask me how I know.)
Do you have these must have Thanksgiving tools handy? Meat thermometer
Carving board with a trench built-in
12. Make your grocery list of things from the store. Yes, the store you have to put on pants to go to. Make that big Thanksgiving stock up trip about three days before the big day. It’s too easy to forget a crucial ingredient if it’s not on the list.
13. Make your fruit pies a week early and freeze them uncooked. Bake them the day before Thanksgiving for about 20-40 minutes longer than the recipe called for and voila. This doesn’t work well for custard pies, be warned.
14. Make your puree for pumpkin pie a week early and freeze it. Let it thaw on Tuesday in the fridge and it should be thawed by Wednesday. Perfect.
15. Wash and chop veggies on Monday. Store them in plastic bags and you are ready to go!
16. Set the table on Wednesday. And make a kid do it if you have any around.
17. Use place cards to assign seats to your guests. This way you can keep loud cousin Bill and loud uncle Joe from sitting together and dominating the conversation.
18. Set up a side table where guests can place their ready made dishes. This will save your kitchen counter space.
19. Use a cooler to keep hot food hot before the meal. Have guests bring covered hot dishes so you can stack them. (Coolers keep cold stuff cold, and hot stuff hot. Don’t mix them 🙂
20. Use a crock pot to keep the potatoes warm.
21. Use a instapot as your second chef. It’s like having an extra cook, only cheaper!
22. Use a thermos to keep your gravy warm.
23. A gas powered BBQ outside can keep dishes warm, too.
24. Set your coffeemaker in advance so you only have to click ‘start’.
25. Have creamer in the fridge handy and the sugar bowl out on a side table.
26. Set up a drink station in the living room or hallway. Put drinks, ice and cups outside the kitchen to keep the traffic away from your space.
27. Set out snacks early. Crackers, cheese, veggies and dip will keep guests happy and out of the kitchen.
28. Kick the kids out. Have all the kids go outside and play if possible. Set up badminton, leave a football and strips of cloth for touch football, and maybe even set up some good old-fashioned cornhole. You know the guys will be outside playing before you know it!
29. Set up a ‘photo booth’ for kids. Ok, let’s be real, the adults will love it too. Simply find a cute spot outside (Because kids outside is always a good thing!) and provide some photo props. The kids will take a million selfies on their phones and have a blast.
30. Print out Thanksgiving coloring pages for the little kids. Here are some from Disney. Remember more activities = less arguing = less busyness for adults. 🙂