Thanksgiving means different things to different people, but for most, it is a time of feasting, parades, family, friends, and, of course, turkey. There are various thanksgiving checklists compiled of tips on how to make this day perfect: the dinner to be delicious and the entertainment to be interesting. Always make sure to be prepared in advance, especially if you are hosting the dinner.
The advice number one is to start as early as possible. To make your dinner fabulous and unforgettable, make sure to follow our tips.
Preparing a Holiday Dinner
When it comes to the menu, plan it one month before. Take into consideration not only your family preferences but also what your guests like or dislike. You can create a shopping list or use some checklists templates to help you with that.
A traditional menu includes turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, several types of vegetables (e.g., sweet potatoes and zucchini), cranberry sauce, various pies, and bread. Here’s what you’ll need to prepare a perfect holiday dinner:
Write a grocery list. Check what you already have and what you need to buy. Then go to the local market, butcher, supermarket, and bakery. This division will help you break the list into several parts, reducing the risk of forgetting something or getting confused.
Do your holiday shopping in advance. Prepare the turkey in advance and those products that sell out quickly during the holidays. If possible, freeze some ingredients, so you don’t have to run to the store at the last minute. It is better to buy pastries on the day of the holiday or to make your own at home.
You should also call the guests and clarify whether they should be expected. During the conversation, ask if they can provide any help in preparing dinner. So you can relieve yourself a little from things.
If you know in advance what you will cook, you can make a more accurate list of products, as well as calculate the cooking time of each dish.
Prepare various cuts, sweets, and sandwiches for a snack. Thus, you will not starve your guests if the dinner is scheduled for late. For children, you can also prepare sweets in the form of a turkey.
Some dishes can be prepared the day before the holiday, for example, cookies or pumpkin pie, other meals need to be prepared precisely on the day of the holiday in order not to lose freshness (for example, turkey). Whenever you cook, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and it will make your life much easier during the holidays. You can also cook two small or medium turkeys instead of one large one to make the process easier.
Here’s what you need to do when cooking:
Allow plenty of time to defrost the turkey. Please note: this may take several days, depending on the size and weight of the turkey.
Make a pumpkin pie or other baked goods a day ahead. So you can concentrate on preparing the main dishes on Thanksgiving Day.
Bake the turkey and finish the main dishes on holiday itself. Start stuffing the turkey in advance.
Ask family members and friends who came earlier to help you in the kitchen to relieve yourself a little of the work.
The guarantee of a great time: Set the festive table
Decorate the dinner table the day before if there is such an opportunity. If not, lay out all the accessories ready to decorate everything quickly at the right moment. Ask the children to help set the table. Let them also contribute to the preparation for the holiday.
Ways to decorate the table:
You can decorate the center of the table with something related to Thanksgiving. You can look for themed decorations and decorations in the store or build them yourself. Ask children or guests who have nothing to do to help – don’t be afraid to share responsibilities.
Scented candles, a bouquet of autumn flowers, or a vase of fruit are also good ideas for decorating the central part of the table.
You can also make themed guest name plates or make these plates in the shape of turkeys.
Leave a napkin holder in the form of a turkey.
Make a flower decoration. You can put it on the table or decorate the interior.
Make sure you have enough seats for all your guests. If you don’t have enough chairs, the kids can sit on the cushions at the coffee table.
Enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving pastime.
You can do it before, during, or after dinner. There are several Thanksgiving traditions that many families follow.
Here are some of them:
Gather around the TV and watch American football. Many fans sit for hours in front of the TV, watching the matches. In addition, it helps to brighten up the time before dinner. You can also play football with friends, neighbors, and family members in the backyard. It’s fun and helps work up an appetite.
Take the kids and watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV. The broadcast is from New York. The parade is very popular, with millions of Americans watching from their homes. If time permits, take a break from your routine and attend a local parade or watch it on TV.
Take some time to think about what Thanksgiving means.
Thanksgiving is a chance for many families to reunite for the first time in years. And it’s a good time to think about love and care for those around you, as well as to realize what you are grateful for. Think about how your family expresses this gratitude.
You can also come up with your own Thanksgiving tradition.
This is a great time to start a journal and make a goal to keep it until next Thanksgiving. In this journal, you will express gratitude to other people or joyful events in your life throughout the coming year.
Help those who are less fortunate in this life. Donate money to a charity fund, take toys or clothes to a shelter, give to the homeless, etc. This way, you will set an excellent example for your children and teach them to express gratitude for what they have.
Come up with afternoon activities. After eating, everyone will feel a little sleepy and full. It’s time for relaxing activities.
Take a little time to put together leftovers.
Even if your guests take away some of the food, chances are you’ll have a ton of leftovers the next day. When you’re energized, you can cook delicious meals from leftovers. For example:
- Turkey Casserole and Stuffed Turkey
- Soup Turkey
- Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwiches
- Roasted Turkey with Potatoes and Vegetables
- Use leftovers for some other dishes that you can come up with.