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Readers Respond: Share Your Best Time Savers for the Holidays

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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.
—JackiePettus

Lemons and Lime

Use lemons and limes as centerpieces instead of flowers.
—Guest Gale

Grocery List

Keep your grocery list year-to-year in your recipe file so you can worth off of that the next year.
—Guest Deb

Visitors

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

Leftovers

Be prepared with extra aluminum trays or ziploc containers to send home leftovers with your guests.
—Guest Alexis

Lists

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

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Share Your Best Time Savers for the Holidays

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