The holiday season is a great time to reconnect with friends and extended family, as you gather around the table for a delicious feast, complete with turkey and all the trimmings. Unfortunately, it can also be a time of great stress, as the added pressure of cleaning, shopping, and meal preparation take their toll on both time and budget. This year, spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying your loved ones with our Thanksgiving cooking checklist, courtesy of the professionals at Mr. Appliance®.
10 Tips for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving
1. Break out the calendar.
Start planning your Thanksgiving day cooking schedule complete with menu, in early November. This will give you time to dig out recipes, check the pantry for ingredients, and divide your shopping list into perishable and non-perishable items.
2. Shop the sales.
Feeding a large group can add up, but you can reduce your expenses by watching store flyers well ahead of time. In addition to the cost savings, you can eliminate the hassle of large crowds in the aisles and checkout lines which become longer as the holidays grow closer.
3. Make a list.
Whether you choose to do it on your phone, tablet, or old-fashioned pen and paper, make a list of items you need to buy and another of things you need to do. Keep your lists nearby so that you can add to them as needed, or make a satisfactory checkmark once you have completed a task.
4. Divide and conquer.
Enlist family members to assist with shopping and chores to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Even the little ones can help by folding napkins, setting silverware, or putting away toys, and older children can wipe down bathrooms, run the vacuum, or put on a load of laundry.
Focus only on the areas of your home that your guests will see, including the living room, dining room, kitchen, and guest bathroom. Remove excess clutter such as newspapers and magazines, toiletries, piles of paper, and other unnecessary items. When surfaces are clear it makes it easier to give them a quick wipe, and it makes your home appear more spacious and organized.
6. Clean the stove and fridge.
Before you bring home all the groceries you need for your holiday meal, make room in your refrigerator. Empty the interior, wipe down all surfaces with a damp cloth, and dry with a clean towel. Be selective before replacing the contents, disposing of food and condiments that have expired, and adding items to your grocery list as needed. Now is also a great time to clean your oven and test the temperature, to ensure your holiday meals are a success.
7. Cook in advance.
Set up a cooking schedule to determine which items may be prepared ahead of time and kept frozen or refrigerated.
8. Start with a clean slate.
The night before, empty all garbage cans, run and empty the dishwasher, clean your countertops, and empty the kitchen sink. Once you begin cooking, fill one side of your sink with hot, soapy water and place used items in it as you go.
9. Set the table.
Prepare the dining table one or two days in advance. This will give you time to shine up your silver, iron your tablecloth, refill your candlesticks, and determine if you have enough napkins or chairs.
Reserve small tasks for guests that arrive ahead of time and offer to help. This will keep them busy and entertained, and help check some of the boxes on your Thanksgiving cooking checklist.