Thanksgiving is the official start of the holiday season. It’s a wonderful weekend full of time spent with family, amazing food, shopping, and football. The only downside to the holiday is that sometimes, hosting a Thanksgiving feast at your home can become more stressful than it is enjoyable.
If you happen to be hosting this year’s celebration, don’t fret. Here at Zabitat, we’re all about ‘Enlightened Living’. That means, we want to help eliminate the obstacles in your life that prevent you from enjoying your home to the fullest. So in the spirit of ‘Enlightened Living’, here are six ways to make Thanksgiving entertaining easier.
#1. Plan Your Shopping List in Advance
It’s impossible to get nearly all the items you’ll need for a Thanksgiving dinner in just one trip to the grocery store. However, if you’re willing to accept the challenge, it’s crucial that you plan ahead. Make your list in the beginning of November as you begin deciding on and finalizing your menu.
Decide when (and where) you’re going to shopping for what, and which ingredients you’ll have to wait to pick up only a few days before the holiday. Also, you might consider ordering a turkey in advance. That way, there’s no risk of stores selling out of the best birds before the big day even arrives.
#2. Set the Table the Night Before
Another great strategy for planning ahead is to set the table the night before. This will save you tons of time on Thanksgiving, and will give you some buffer time to pick up extra silverware, napkins, glasses or plates the next morning, in case you didn’t realize you were short.
It will also give you plenty of time to make sure your table and each place setting looks the way you want it to. If you need to get fresh flowers or an extra set of salt and pepper shakers, you can send someone to do it in the morning.
#3. Move Activity Out of the Kitchen
A crowded kitchen is a quick way to create a tense, anxious atmosphere. You want people to congregate together to talk and catch up, but the kitchen is usually not the best place to do it.
To get your guests to move out of your kitchen and into other parts of your home, set up a drink station in your living room. You can also have trays of appetizers set up in your living room or other gathering space, to further encourage the shift of activity away from the kitchen.
#4. Prep Your Entryway for Visitors
When you’re expecting company, you want your home to make a welcoming first impression. Your entryway is the first aspect of your home that visitors experience upon arrival which means, you should do your best to give it some personality and make it feel inviting.
From cleaning up old cobwebs to sprucing up your patio with a new welcome mat, there are lots of things you can do to upgrade the way you welcome visitors into your home. For more ideas on how to prep the threshold of your home for the holidays, check out this article we wrote on 10 ways you can enhance your entryway.
#5. Have a Cleanup Strategy
Cleanup can be another chaotic time of the evening for a host. To keep things stress-free, have a strategy for how you’ll clear and clean up your guests’ dishes — and don’t be afraid to communicate those instructions to your guests before you even sit down to eat.
If everything you’re using is dishwasher safe, maybe the best course of action is to have everyone rinse off their own dishes and stack them in the dishwasher. If not, maybe it’s best for you and a few other helpers to take care of doing it on your own, while everyone else is seated or hanging out in another room.
Do whatever works best for you, but whatever you do, don’t wing it.
#6. Ask Guests to Bring Containers for Leftovers
Chances are, you won’t have room in your fridge for all those leftovers. The nice thing to do is to give away some leftovers to your guests. But chances are, you also don’t want to give away all your reusable containers and risk not getting them back.
Contact your guests the day before, and let them know that they are more than welcome to as many leftovers as they please, but they should bring their own containers to take home. That way, you keep your containers and your guests go home with extra food. Win-win!
Hosting Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be stressful. Follow the six tips above to help make this year’s Turkey Day easy, enjoyable, and most of all, fun.