Tips on Hosting a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

Get organized, stay calm, and enjoy this Thanksgiving more than ever!

Never turn down help:
Thanksgiving is often a potluck Holiday, and that’s the beauty of it. Let friends and family bring things, and be unashamed about delegating the parts of the meal that stress you out. Don’t be afraid to reach out and let those around you help and bring what you need.

Make as much ahead as possible:
The most stressful part of a meal is the last-minute rush. When you’re planning your menu, look for dishes that can be made ahead of time. Such as, cranberry sauce, or casseroles and pies, things that can be reheated the day of Thanksgiving.  Even if you can’t make a full dish ahead, look for ways to save time like toasting nuts or making the salad dressing.

Don’t try new recipes:
Thanksgiving is all about the classics, so stick with what you know.  Let your mind be clear to deal with the turkey (especially if it’s your first time).

Start early on non-food prep:
It’s not just the food that needs to be prepped. You are probably pulling out serving dishes that need to be washed, or extra silverware, or counting your napkins to make sure you have enough. Do all of that the week before. Double-check your serving plates and utensils and iron your tablecloth. Spread out the preparation tasks. Maybe a week in advance wash and dry, crystal and serving pieces. Another day clean house or go grocery shopping. Spreading out the work makes it seem a little less overwhelming.

Set the table the night before:
Don’t fuss with the table on the day of. Set it the day ahead and you have your goal in sight all day. Put your serving vessels and serving utensils out as well, and put a little note in each one of what goes where. You don’t want to have to search around in your messiest cupboard for the turkey platter in front of guests.

Have wine and cocktails ready to go:
Have wine chilling in the fridge or a pitcher or two of festive cocktails ready to be poured. When guests come in you can hand them a glass, get them socializing, and even get them out of the kitchen.

Don’t fuss over appetizers:
Thanksgiving is a huge meal, so don’t stress about appetizers. Ask someone else to bring one, or just put out some store-bought crackers and dip.

It’s okay to buy parts of your meal:
Know a great bakery? Buy a pie. Hate making cranberry sauce? Buy some from a specialty grocery. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with buying a few pieces of the meal, especially if it makes for a more relaxing day.

Relax, have fun, and enjoy:
The most important piece of advice? Relax! Remember people are there to gather with you! Ask for help, laugh a lot, remember the turkey can rest for an hour while you finish everything else. And, above all, find moments of gratitude in a busy, messy, loud, and delicious holiday. Remember what the day is about: being thankful!

The Antonis Family wishes you and your loved ones a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving!