Thanksgiving is arguably the biggest meal of the year.
It is a time when friends and family come together to share food and enjoy one another. But there is usually a lot of stress that goes into preparing for the Thanksgiving meal. The key to a stress-free holiday is advance planning. Here are a few tips that will keep your stress levels in check:
. Make a holiday meal plan. Write out the dishes you have in mind and the names of the guests you are expecting. Be sure and allow for an uninvited guest or two. Remember, part of what people look forward to on Thanksgiving is leftovers for days to come.
. Start shopping early. Grocery stores usually begin running holiday sales on turkeys, hams, and dessert items in late October and early November so there is no reason not to take advantage of those pre-holiday specials. Remember, most people wait until a few days before the holiday to shop.
. Cook ahead. Many dishes can be made, at least in part, ahead of time. Casseroles can assembled and frozen. Pie crusts and bread dough can be prepared weeks before the big day and frozen. You can even mix all but the wet ingredients in cake and muffin mixes before holiday festivities begin. Doing what you can far in advance of Thanksgiving will be a real stress-reliever - not to mention a time-saver.
. Plan a buffet-style meal. Serving a meal buffet-style eliminates the need for one person to be responsible for serving a large group. It also eliminates the need to set a table to perfection. Just stack up some plates and lay out some silverware and let everybody get their own plate.
. Make it potluck. Gone are the days when just a few good cooks carry the burden of all the holiday cooking. There's nothing wrong with requesting that everybody pitch in. Call your guests ahead of time and ask them to bring appetizers, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pie, or paper products.
Thanksgiving is a holiday that should be spent being thankful for blessings and spending quality time with family and friends. It shouldn't be a time of stress and anxiety. Follow these tips for an unforgettable and stress-free Thanksgiving meal.