From the article: Simplify Your Holiday Meal Planning
Hosting a holiday involves a lot of organization. Choosing recipes, planning side dishes, extending invitations, choosing decorations and scheduling the big meal requires a great deal of pre-planning and organizing on the part of the host. Here, readers share their “Dos” and “Don'ts” for hosting a successful Thanksgiving Day. Share your tips
Amazon Gift Lists
- You can use the Amazon gift list feature for everyone on your list so you can bookmark ideas all year long.
- —Guest Bob
Post-Its on Serving Trays + Bowls
- Lay your serving bowls out early and then put a post-it note in each server so you (and any guests helping you) can fill the bowls as soon as the food is ready.
- —Guest Anna
Have Non-perishables Delivered Early
- Instead of one huge grocery shopping marathon and many bag-laden trips up three flights of stairs, I use the online service of our local supermarket to have as many things as possible delivered on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. On the day before, I pick up the turkey, produce and anything else I wouldn't trust to the supermarket's personal shopper.
Lemons and Lime
- Use lemons and limes as centerpieces instead of flowers.
- —Guest Gale
- Keep your grocery list year-to-year in your recipe file so you can worth off of that the next year.
- —Guest Deb
- If you have a houseful of guests who are staying several days, ask them to sign up for organizing and shopping for a breakfast or lunch.
- —Guest Kerry
- Be prepared with extra aluminum trays or ziploc containers to send home leftovers with your guests.
- —Guest Alexis
- Keep a list (near your phone, in your email--wherever you expect to hear from guests most regularly) of what each guest has offered to bring. This way you'll avoid duplicates and if someone asks "What can I bring?" you'll know where the holes in the meal are.
- —Guest Emile
Prepare for Clean Up
- Most guests will offer to help clean up. Make this process easier by label the garbage can and recycling bin, and have rolls of paper towels and dish rags on hand.
- —Guest Mary
Provide the Basics & Spice Up The Sides
- Are you a foodie or adventurous eater? If you're hosting Thanksgiving dinner, feel free to get creative with side dishes, but you must, must provide guests with the holy trinity of Thanksgiving food: turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing. Anything less may incite a riot.
- —Guest Elizabeth