It’s November and November brings Thanksgiving for the folks in the US. I love Thanksgiving and look forward to it all year. Heck, I just love the holidays and making them uber special for Scott and I. I thought for the month of November, TT could focus on Thanksgiving specific topics.
Making Thanksgiving as easy and stress free as possible is what everyone strives for, right? So many people seem frazzled, stressed out, or just flat out cranky around Thanksgiving. And if they are doing the hosting, a little overwhelmed at all they have to do. Why? I believe it’s because they are looking at the whole picture instead of focusing on the smaller aspects of what needs to be done. When all you see is a huge turkey dinner, plus deserts, cocktails, and maybe appetizers while everyone waits for the tada, then it will seem like too much. That’s when the “OMG, how am I ever going to do this?!!! I have to get up at 4am just to get started!” kicks in and people lose their cool.
I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way. Thanksgiving can be easy peasy, no matter if you are serving 25 or if it’s just you and your hunny. You can do it and you don’t even have to get up at 4am!
One thing that is invaluable to me, is making a plan and plotting that plan on a calendar. I do an entire month overview and then I break it down even farther when I hit Thanksgiving week. This allows me to see a timeline and gives me a better sense of what my course of action should be.
But first, before even looking at the calendar, I write down my dinner and the basics of what I am serving. For example:
- Breakfast: Juice, muffins (bagles?), fresh fruit.
- Nibbles: Small salad, cheese, crackers, nuts, cocktail (?)
- Dinner: Turkey, stuffing, greenbeans, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes…. full meal
- Dessert: Pumpkin pie
- Special coffee later
This gives me an idea of what I will need to buy at the store, what I can make early, and what needs to be made the day of. Then I can use this as a starting off point as I plan out my month.
I use Google Calendar as my main planner on my computer (click to make bigger). What I like about this program is that I can view the whole month, week, day, or agenda. I can also create different calendars for different topics (like work, and martial arts) and flip between them.
Seeing the whole month gives me a better sense of how much time I have to plan. Right now it’s only 4 weeks until Thanksgiving. Knowing that, and looking at my Thanksgiving Day list, I figure out an order to which things need to happen, like ordering my turkey, doing the Thanksgiving grocery shopping, and any prep work that needs to be done. Once I have that tentatively planned, I move on to more specific timing.
I start plotting out a more specific timeline the week of Thanksgiving. I ask myself questions about what needs to be done and about what I am cooking. For example, how big is the turkey? Once I know that, I can figure out how long it will take to cook, and then I can figure out when it needs to go in the oven. What can be made ahead and how far in advance can I make it? If I serve muffins, I can make those very early and freeze them.
Schedules are not written in stone and can be changed at any time. This is only my first draft basic plan, I know it will get changed several times leading up to Thanksgiving. And that’s okay, every time I think of something new I have to do, or when I complete something (maybe I’ll make the muffins this weekend), I make a note of it in the calendar.
The week of Thanksgiving, I print out my schedule. And then I print out Wednesday’s schedule and Thursday’s schedule. Hang them on the fridge and use it as a reference as I cruise through the days.
Waiting until the last minute to shop, prep, and cook will leave you frazzled. Don’t let that happen this year, make a plan!
Remember The Milk is a nice to-do list program