Thanksgiving is one of the most delicious days of the year — the gathering of friends and family focused around feasting and football and soaking in fall weather. What could be better? Not much. But for some, hosting a Thanksgiving feast can also summon the stress and pressure of entertaining and pulling off a perfect meal. The Traina family encourages people to take the stress out of this holiday with the following tips:
Plan (and Prep) Ahead — When it comes to putting together the menu, purchasing items and even preparing make-ahead items that can be reheated the day of, the earlier the better! Allowing as much time as needed (and even a little more) to research recipes, purchase items and ingredients, get the house ready and so on eliminates the stress that comes with trying to put everything together on very limited time.
Ask for Contributions — From asking family members to help pitch in to clean the house before guests arrive to asking Aunt Betty to bring her famous pumpkin pie for dessert, family and friends will surely take pleasure in getting involved with preparing and executing a fabulous Thanksgiving feast. When it comes to delegating, play into people’s strengths. For friends that love to cook, ask them to bring a dish to share. For kids that love crafts, set them to work making place cards or centerpieces for the dining table. Giving everyone an opportunity to get involved and shine in their own unique ways makes the holiday that much more personal and special — while also taking a pressure off the host to orchestrate the entire event themselves.
Jazz up Store Bought Items — While preparing an entirely from-scratch homemade meal can be a source of fun and pride for some, others may not get the same joy out of spending days in the kitchen to prepare one meal. For those latter ones, there is nothing wrong with taking a little help from the store and making items “your own” with some special additions. For example, it’s easy to embellish upon store-bought cranberry sauce, salads and stuffing with the addition of dried fruit, nuts and seeds.
Enjoy the Festivities — Once the house is spic and span, the turkey is in the oven and guests start to arrive, it’s time to step out of the kitchen and take part in the party! The host should put himself or herself in a position to have most of the food done and ready before the event begins to allow for mingling with guests instead of being stuck in the kitchen and missing out on the reason for the occasion — coming together with friends and family to give thanks!