October 02, 2009

The SSE Guide to Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, you might be feeling a bit frantic. There's so much to do and so little time left to do it! To make this holiday run a bit smoother, follow the simple guidelines below for your ticket to stress-free preparations.

1) Finalize your guest list. It is very important to get a final guest count at least one week prior to your holiday get-together. This provides you with sufficient time to figure out how much food and beverages are required, any necessary changes that need to be made to the menu due to your guests’ dietary needs, and what the best area(s) in your house will be for entertaining. Once you have the finalized guest list, send out a friendly reminder via phone or e-mail, with all of the necessary details such as the time and date of your get-together and directions to your house.

2) Create the must-have list ahead of time. Making a list of all necessary ingredients, beverages, cookware, and d├ęcor items required to complete your thanksgiving feast will help to eliminate all of those tiresome, last minute trips to the store. The last thing you want to do is wait in line at the grocery store as friends and family start to arrive! Take note of any shortages you might have for chairs or place settings and purchase these along with all nonperishable items a week before, preferably waiting until the day before Thanksgiving to buy fresh greens, bread, and flowers. Don’t forget that in addition to the roasting pan, you’ll need scissors, cotton kitchen twine, trussing needles, a turkey baster, an instant-read thermometer, and a pastry/basting brush.

3) Assemble your serving dishes. A couple of days before your get-together is the perfect time to decide on which serving dishes you’ll need. The first step is to take out all of your serving dishes, platters, and utensils, and look at your menu to decide which piece is best suited for each dish. It might help for you to label each dish so that you don’t forget on the day of. To finish setting the table up, prepare any silver flatware or table linens by polishing and/or ironing 2-3 days ahead of time.

4) Start dinner preparations ahead of time. If you are using a frozen turkey, it can be defrosted in the refrigerator starting 3-4 days before your dinner party. Fresh turkeys should be picked up the day before Thanksgiving. Homemade cranberry sauce can be prepared 2 days ahead, as a couple of days in the refrigerator will allow the flavours time to develop. The day before your get-together is the perfect time to prepare any vegetables, side dishes, or desserts that require baking. To save additional time, you can cook them a day in advance and then reheat before dinner.

5) Prepare a Thanksgiving Day timeline. To ensure that you stay organized (and that everyone is fed on time) prepare your celebration timeline at least a day in advance. Having a set schedule and/or checklist will help ease your stress and allow you to enjoy the festivities while entertaining. Need help coming up with your timeline? Click here to check out Simply Sophisticated Events’ Thanksgiving Checklist and use or modify as you see fit!

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