Essential tips for preparing and entertaining for Thanksgiving

It is that time of year, the leaves are falling and there is a little chill in the air as summer takes its last breath. Around the corner, we will earn an hour of sleep. The good news, too, is that we’ll need that dream to prepare for the flood of holiday guests coming for Thanksgiving this year! To help you get through this Thanksgiving vacation, here are some essential tips to make sure everything runs smoothly and make your vacation a little less hectic.

The adjustment

It is so easy to decorate for Thanksgiving. You can make a beautiful centerpiece with items from your home. Use a basket full of pumpkins, fallen leaves, corn, pinecones, corn husks, squash, and mini pumpkins. You can also use these things to decorate your home. A few well-placed mini pumpkins do wonders for setting the mood for Thanksgiving.


Make sure you have clearly marked location cards for each person, so they know where to sit. Also, be sure to leave enough room on the table for all of your serving dishes. It’s a good idea to have extra chairs on hand for surprise guests who show up.

Tips for preparing meals

Preparing a full Thanksgiving meal can be a big task, but with the proper preparation ahead of time, you should be able to go through it without a hitch. First, write down your menu and make a shopping list. Just in case, buy a little more of each item, so you’re not stuck with having too little of something on Thanksgiving and all the stores are closed. Make your purchases a couple of days in advance to beat the

inevitable last-minute rush on Thanksgiving Eve. Make sure you have enough space in your kitchen, refrigerator, and freezer to store all the food you will buy. You’ll want to start preparing your dishes on Thanksgiving Eve unless you want to get up really early. Be sure to pay particular attention to what needs to be done with the turkey. Hopefully it’s not frozen, but if it is, you can put it in your kitchen sink with warm water and just change the water every hour or so to speed up defrosting. For other dishes, prepare as much as you can in advance. You can usually make a lot of side dishes and desserts completely ahead of time.

Backup meal plans

Your turkey will probably turn out fine, or at least edible, but if it doesn’t, make sure you have an alternative available. Some good options would be a ham, roast beef, salmon or other fish.


It’s a good idea to call each of your guests ahead of time to make sure there aren’t any surprises, like your brother’s 15-year-old son has just become a vegetarian and won’t be able to eat the turkey. Make sure you have something that a vegetarian won’t have a problem with. I have found

Vegetarians are usually happy with some really tasty sides like mashed potatoes, green beans, bread, and salad. However, a Tofurky would be a good option if several vegetarians are coming. Don’t forget others with special dietary needs, such as allergies, diabetics, low sodium diets, etc.


Outsourcing is not just for tech companies! To make your day easier, consider outsourcing a portion of the meal. Have one or two guests bring a side dish or appetizer. Or consider buying dessert. A few pumpkin pies from your local bakery topped with whipped cream would work just fine and I bet no one would know the difference.


After the meal, some guests may go home, while most others will choose to stay for a while. Soccer and basketball games will be plentiful on television, but what about those who don’t watch sports? Have some board games on hand, as well as party games that involve a lot of players.


One of the main points of the holiday season is gathering family and friends to catch up and enjoy each other’s company. Facilitate conversations in your home. Make sure you have some quiet areas and plenty of seating to facilitate conversation.

The children

If you are having multiple children in your meeting, you must be prepared for their needs. Make sure children have a separate table or are seated next to supervising adults. After lunch, organize games and activities especially for them, or have family games that can involve the children.

Prepare for emergencies

No, it is not a natural disaster or even a medical emergency, it is not as bad as those, but it certainly has the potential to ruin your vacation. I’m talking about the dreaded toilet backup. The last thing you want is to be stuck cleaning up that kind of mess when you’re supposed to be preparing food. Make sure you have a plunger and some Drano or Liquid Plumber on hand in the bathroom that guests will be using. When and if

happens, you will be very glad to be prepared for it. Trust me! Follow these tips and you should be one step closer to a safer and happier Thanksgiving holiday.

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