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Surviving the Thanksgiving Holidays

November 19th, 2014

Pumpkins, apples in theSurviving the Thanksgiving Holidays

You’ve already started planning for Black Friday sales. Hopefully you’ve started planning for Thanksgiving.

If not, then we’ll help you get on track in today’s post whether you’re a guest locally, whether you have to travel to the destination (and we mean a long journey, not across town), or if you’re hosting the big supper.

If You’re Hosting

Step one is to make sure you’ve gotten all your invitations out. Does your great Aunt Thelma know that she’s invited? If not, she may start making other plans.

Once you have your final count, plan on a few extra mouths since you never know who will show up. This is one gathering where you want extra food to send home leftovers.

Step two is to plan the meal. The big question is always how big of a bird do I need to buy (unless you’re going vegetarian. In which case, here’s a great site for planning a vegetarian Thanksgiving meal). The answer is about a pound per person. Also, if you need a really big turkey, consider buying two smaller ones as it’s easier to roast and ensure the quality. Plus, a smaller turkey tends to be more tender.

For more on sides, drinks and appetizers, here’s a great site at Dummies.com that details amounts to plan and prepare. Also, if you’re hosting, don’t be shy about asking people to bring things. It cuts down on the amount of work you have to do, and allows new dishes to be introduced.

Step three is to start preparing. If you will be using a frozen turkey, it will need at least a week in your fridge to thaw. Also, you can start buying a few items each time you go to the store such as the bags of stuffing one day, butter and spices the next. Set aside a special place for your Thanksgiving items so they don’t accidentally get used.

Then, start cleaning. If you start small and spend 15-20 minutes a day every day decluttering, decobwebbing, and de-dusting, it won’t feel like such a stressful burden. Also, call now and set up a housecleaning appointment for that Monday or Tuesday. You will have everything picked up by then, and a professional can come in and do a professional cleaning. There are places out there where you can schedule by blocks of time rather than a standard cleaning service.

Step four starts the day before. If you’re going to make a pie, make them now. Set the table. Put out flowers or whatever decorations you want.  Plan your day. For example, if you know your turkey needs to be in the oven by noon, plan to start making the stuffing at 11 so it has time to cool down, and you have time to preheat the oven, wash, dry, butter up and stuff (if you do stuff) your turkey.

Step five is the day of Thanksgiving. Follow your plan and make sure you take time out to relax. And once you have the turkey out of the oven, you’ll have time to toss in the wine, beer, soda and juice to chill.

If You’re Traveling

If you’re taking a long trip, remember that this is the busiest time of the year to travel, so expect a lot of delays. Check the weather reports and flight reports at ifly.com frequently. Get to the airport early.

And to reduce your stress, start packing the week before so you don’t forget anything.

Also consider mailing items like clothes to your destination so you only have to worry about a carry-on if you’re flying.

If you’re driving, take time to map out your journey and plan for regular stops to stretch your legs (about every hour if you have kids).

If possible, try to arrive at least a day beforehand so you can rest up from traveling and be your best on Thanksgiving.

If You’re Visiting

Always offer to bring something. If the host and hostess insist you can’t, bring a bottle of something or flowers. Also consider bringing items that they could use later like a box of cookies or chocolates. If you do bring wine or scotch or brandy, don’t expect it to be served. They may or they may have already planned their beverages. However, if you bring a non-alcoholic beverage because it’s what you intend to drink, you should be able to find some space in the fridge.

Offer to arrive early to help finish cooking or setting up.

And always help clear the dishes and offer to wash or dry.

But otherwise, your main job is to have fun.

If You’re Not Planning Anything

It’s happened to everyone where family is out of town, etc. So, first find out if any of your friends have plans. If not, then put together a group and hit a buffet on the town. There are some wonderful places to dig in. Look for hotels to have extravagant spreads.

And you may not know it, but it’s a great time to go out to the movies because they aren’t crowded.

Finally, it’s not too late to plan a quick trip to somewhere warm for a long weekend.

Don’t be stressed if it looks like you don’t have anything to do. Figure out what you enjoy, and then make it happen.

So, which will you be doing this Thanksgiving?

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