Preparing for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is a season where, like its name implies we are supposed to give thanks. Unfortunately most of us get so caught up in the preparation for thanksgiving the season becomes rather stressful and we actually forget to give thanks. If you are like me and you wait till the last minute to get things going, life becomes even more chaotic so this year, I’m trying to make Thanksgiving a little less stressful.
1. Decide who is hosting thanksgiving.
For several family units, this is not an issue. Thanksgiving is usually in one family member’s home this year and another family’s the next year. Some families rotate Thanksgiving and Christmas. For some people though it’s not as clear cut, especially for newly married couples who may have been used to celebrating with their own families. Some hard choices are going to have to be made either to spend the day before thanksgiving with one family and Thanksgiving Day itself with the other family or to go to one family for Thanksgiving and the other family for Christmas. Couples will have to learn to compromise so the season is not marred with hurt feelings. Family members should learn to give thanks for the couple and not make them feel guilty about the Thanksgiving decisions they ultimately make.
2. What Contribution does one make.
Preparing for a celebration is never an easy task for the host so as much as possible, everyone needs to chip in to make the day run smoothly. Call and talk to the host whether it is a family member or friend about what contribution you can make. Most people will not accept a monetary contribution. Ask about bringing drinks or a side dish or desert. There is always something to can bring to help out even if the host declines your offer.
3. Preparing your home for the day.
If you are the host, think about preparing your home for the day. If you have guests coming to stay with you, make sure you have enough towels, bedding etc. to make it comfortable for them. Have extra items like tooth brushes or combs on hand since without fail, someone will forget to bring one. If you want to have your carpets cleaned you should have called to arrange it by now otherwise please do so now. Do you have enough serving bowls, spoons, and plates to go around? Picture your party set-up in your mind, or better still write things down. Make sure you have enough dishes for all your meals. Check all these things at least a week in advance so you are well prepared. Make sure you have enough storage and freezer space for all the items you need, and ask for help from other family members if necessary.
4. Preparing the menu and the meal.
Decide and write down the menu. Make a list of all you need to buy and figure out where and when you will buy the needed items. Decide whether you are buying or roasting a turkey. Do you need to buy ham? Last year, I was so late that by the time I decided to buy a cooked turkey, every shop was sold out. If you are roasting a turkey, you need to start thawing it about 4 to 6 days before thanksgiving, in your refrigerator. Decide what ingredients you will need to roast the turkey and what you need for the rest of the meal, check your pantry and if necessary, buy what you don’t have now. If you are like me, and you want to make life easy there are several places like Honey Baked Ham, Razzoos, Central Market etc, who sell not only a ready-made turkey but side dishes as well. If you are trying out a new recipe, I would suggest that you try it out before the day and make sure it turns out right. You don’t want to surprise yourself and your guest. Buy as many items as possible well in advance because the grocery shops are crazy busy and sold out of stuff, just before the day. Trust me on this, I’ve been there more times than I care to remember.
5. Make the day as stress free as possible.
Preparing well in advance for thanksgiving is the best way to make the day as stress free as possible. Cook all the items that can be prepared ahead of time. Ask for help from family members. Decide you are going to be thankful and not stressed out on the big day. So the turkey didn’t turn out exactly as planned, have a sense of humor and laugh at yourself and let it go. The day should be about family and friend togetherness and should be filled with joy and laughter rather than anxiety about what did not turn out right.
Of course there are always relatives who come and unfortunately complain about everything. Be the bigger person and don’t fall into the usual bickering and trying to be the one with the last word. Remember to give thanks even for the relative or friend who rubs you up the wrong way. Stop a minute when you wake up that morning and count your blessings. wAkins up Thanksgiving day is plenty to be grateful for. Decide to indeed make it a day for giving thanks.
“Remember God’s bounty in the year. String the pearls of His favor. Hide the dark parts, except so far as they are breaking out in light! Give this one day to thanks, to joy, to gratitude!”
– Henry Ward Beecher