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Stress-Free Holiday Tradition: Tips for A Smooth Thanksgiving

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By Rachel Derry
Staff Writer LIFamilies

Now that November is here the holiday countdown has officially moved to its next stop; Thanksgiving, the joyous holiday of family, parades, and turkey dinners! Although the holiday is full of thanks, love, and laughter, the preparations leading up to it can be extremely daunting for the gathering's host. The best way to get the job done and keep yourself from pulling your hair out is a little early planning and following tips from the thanksgiving chef's that came before you.

One tip that all experts seem to agree on is the necessity to plan an exact timeline to follow, leading up to the holiday. Set dates for you to have all of your supplies by, to have the house decorated by, and when you want to prep and cook all of your recipes. For a most stress-free option, don't leave all of your prep and planning for the last week before the holiday; schedule grocery pickup, guest confirmation, and deliveries for the two weeks before, giving you wiggle room to fit it into your already busy schedule.

When you're planning your dishes, let your friends and family pitch in! Allow your mother to bring her famous mashed potatoes and your sister-in-law to bring her pumpkin pie; a little help from your guests is definitely not cheating and it's a great way to let them feel involved. If you choose to make the 3 or 4 dishes that your guests want to bring, you're adding hours and hours onto your prep.

Know your turkey and how big it's going to need to be. One of the main traditions that goes along with Thanksgiving can also be the most daunting; the thanksgiving turkey. It isn't cheating to do a little Google research ahead of time. Know how big the bird needs to be, how long it is going to need to thaw, and how long it is going to need to cook. One great website for tips and calculations is one that you may not have thought of: www.butterball.com. Makes sense, right? They supply the birds so they know them best!

Always have more of everything than you'll ever need. With Thanksgiving being the holiday it is, it's almost a guarantee that you'll have more food than you actually need, but don't forget about everything else. Have plenty of extra utensils for prepping and cooking your meal; have extra meat forks, turkey lifters, make sure your meat thermometer works, etc. Have plenty of hand and dish towels around for spills, dirty hands, and drying up. Have lots of left-over containers and doggy bag contains for guests to take some home with them, too.

Have trays of snacks and appetizers out before your guests even walk through the door. This will negate any extra pressure as people arrive, and it will also keep them filled and content while you finish the meal preparations. Have a party drink mixed ahead of time, like mulled cider for kids and mulled wine for the adults, so that you don't have to run around taking drink orders as much, as well.

Make sure to plan out your guest seating for both adults and children ahead of time. Having assigned seats makes the process of filing in and sitting go much more quickly. You can also ensure that those who don't get along as well aren't next to each other and those who need a little more room (like the lefty stuck in a room full of righties) get the proper place and space they need. No one wants to get elbowed throughout their meal!

Long Island Home & Lifestyle Articles > Stress-Free Holiday Tradition: Tips for A Smooth Thanksgiving

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