Can you believe it? There are literally only two weeks until Thanksgiving! If you haven’t started yet, you should start planning your Thanksgiving Dinner now to ensure a stress free dinner. To help you get started I decided to make a few printables to share with you. I’ve used these at home to help my mom plan dinner at her house and it really helps to make the planning process go much smoother.
Hosting any holiday party can get stressful and overwhelming pretty quickly and you ultimately don’t get to fully enjoy what the holiday is all about. Breaking your holiday planning into a few steps will help make hosting not only easier but enjoyable.
Each year we always have an idea of what we want to make but we never really figured it out until a few days before the big day. Last minute we were always scrambling to make sure we had everything, running back out because we forgot something on our list or something that we totally didn’t even think about. It was a mess and there was always somebody that had to leave home to go pick up that missing item which meant the family wasn’t together, this is a big deal to me because our family home is kind of in the middle of nowhere so it’s about thirty minutes minimum to get to the store, say twenty in the store and another thirty back if there isn’t any traffic and you’re able to find what you’re looking for quickly, which never seems to be the case. Not only this but when you have the four of us (my mother, grandmother, my sister and I) all in one kitchen, despite how large it is, we always seem to get into spats. It’s either because something is missing, not there or one of us isn’t moving quick enough. Talk about a stress fest!
Last year we kind of got things down much better and started planning the week before instead, and we actually started writing things down with the menus and shopping lists that I made. You’ll be able to download the versions I made for this year down at the bottom of the post! After learning from what we did and didn’t do last year, we created a few steps to follow this year.
Find out who is coming. This sounds like a really obvious point but we often don’t know who is coming until a few days before. This drastically changes how much food you need to prepare, how you need to host and how many place settings you need. Hint: if you have a bunch of children attending, don’t be afraid to make a children’s table complete with wrapping paper table cloth so they can color on it! See if you can get an older child (teenager) to babysit during dinner. This doesn’t relinquish adults from watching their children but gives them the opportunity to relax a little bit and enjoy the feast. When you’re finding out who is attending, make sure you find out if they’re bringing any dishes with them! In the Menu printable you’ll find a space to write these dishes in so you don’t overlap.
Again, this is obvious but with the printable that you can download you’ll have everything organized and together. There are places for appetizers, the main course, sides, desserts, beverages and more. We often would forget about beverages so we just pulled whatever we had in the fridge and made some coffee so I decided to add this to my menu this year so we can plan to make something a little more special.
I started taking inventory of my spice cabinet this year and this is a step that my family forgets to do. We have all the spices and herbs in the world but every year we don’t realize that we’re out of something before it’s only hours before dinner. Go through your cupboards and find out what you have and what you need. On a day you have spare time put all the spices you have into your notes app on your phone just so you have this in the future for shopping. As you go through the cupboard with your menu and recipes, start filling in your shopping list printable. I tried to organize them by category so when you’re shopping your items are relatively in the same aisles. Hopefully this will save you a little bit of time!
The week before Thanksgiving, take out your menu again and start planning when you’re cooking and baking your different dishes. Any pies or casseroles that you can cook in the days leading up to Thanksgiving will be a life saver the day of. It’ll be just one extra thing that you won’t have to worry about. Go through your menu and even mark the dishes that you can begin prepping for as well. Chop up your veggies and freeze them, make some ready to go dishes that you can just pop into the oven. Having everything written out on the menu will make it easier to see where you can prep ahead of time. I personally forget how long chopping carrots and celery takes, it’s those little things that add up!
No matter how much you prepare, it’ll still be a little crazy. Hopefully with my printables you’ll be a little more organized, stress free and ready for the big day. Just don’t forget to enjoy yourself and remember that we have a special day to share with our family and friends just to be thankful for all the blessings we have been given.
Free Thanksgiving 2015 Menu Planner and Shopping List Printable
Click the link above to get your free printables! How do you all prep for Thanksgiving and ensure that it’s a calm and thoughtful day?