Okay so, I LOVE Thanksgiving. I may be biased because my birthday does fall on Thanksgiving every seven years or so, but my main reason for loving this awesome holiday is the food. Who doesn’t love a ton of amazing food!? When I was growing up my grandma always went all out for Thanksgiving. I mean beautifully presented turkey, fancy china was brought out for the occasion, and even the classic adult’s and children’s tables were thrown in. Now that I am an adult, Thanksgiving is MY holiday.
Every year my family comes to celebrate this delicious day at my house. I cook everything, except for the veggie tray that I still ask my grandma to bring and the turkey because my hubby does that. We may not get out the china, or present the turkey as wonderfully as Grandma always did, but we all sit together, give thanks, and enjoy spending this time with each other just like we did growing up.
Now, I don’t like throwing things together last minute or spending all my time the day of any event being in the kitchen. I want to be with everyone else, enjoying my time with family and relaxing. I have created the perfect plan for myself that allows me to do just that on most occasions, but especially on Thanksgiving when my extended family comes to visit.
Our perfect Thanksgiving menu looks a little something like this:
Green Chili Dip with Wheat Thins
Guide to Thanksgiving
I do get all this ready before the day and this is my step by step plan to a relaxing and enjoyable Thanksgiving:
- Six Weeks Out – I like to plan out how many people will be coming, the menu, and write out my grocery list a week before Halloween.
- Four Weeks Out – To make it easier on myself I use the disposable bakeware for pretty much everything, except the pies, rolls and mashed potatoes. So, the first week of November I like to go ahead and buy all the bakeware and all groceries, except any perishable items and alcohol.
- Two Weeks Out – Go back through my list to make sure I have everything except perishable items and alcohol of course. Sometimes I end up using something I already bought, or my husband eats the French-fried onions for the green bean casserole lol, either way with six people in this house it is easy to use something and not realize until I am cooking that it is gone.
- One Week Out – Start thawing that turkey, one year it was still not thawed completely by Thanksgiving. That won’t be happening again!
- Three Days Before – Buy any perishable items and any wine or beer. We usually do mimosas that morning and wine for Turkey dinner, this year I am going to try this yummy apple cider mimosas recipe and Thanksgiving Punch. I will still get some soda, beer, and wine though in case people would rather have that.
- Two Days Before – Bake your pies!
- The Day Before Thanksgiving – I get potatoes peeled for mashed potatoes (put them in a bag or pot of cold water in the fridge until you’re ready to cook), get my casseroles thrown together and just put in the fridge until cooking time, double check turkey is almost ready to go, make appetizers, if we are doing a ham I usually have that ready to just go in the roaster, put alcohol in the fridge and get my appetizers ready.
- Thanksgiving Day – All I do on Thanksgiving itself is put appetizers out, get the turkey and ham going (my husband does this), after turkey is out I start potatoes to boil, get casseroles into the oven, once those are done I put the rolls in the oven, finish mashed potatoes, my husband slices the turkey and ham, then we are ready to eat.
I am only in the kitchen for a few short periods of time throughout the day to put something in the oven or take it out. I usually have the entire day to just relax with my family and enjoy the day. I know that some people procrastinate or like doing things the day of, but for me that is just too stressful and what is the point of having the whole family over for the day if you are just going to be absent and frustrated?
Our Thanksgiving is full of wonderful food and drinks. A lot of laughs and good memories are made each year. We have a tradition of going around the table and everyone has to say one things they are super thankful for that year. It is a good time to remember that life isn’t so bad and while there are plenty of rough spots every year, there is always so much to be thankful for.
What are some family traditions your family has for Thanksgiving? Let me know in the comments below and I hope this will help you to have more time with your family and less time looking at the stove on Thanksgiving!