Autumn is in full swing and that means Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Planning a Thanksgiving gathering can be stressful, but with a little organization you can limit your anxiety and throw a fabulous feast that will make everyone grateful. I’ve put together a few quick party planning tips to do in advance for a successful holiday dinner.
Make A Guest List & Send Invitations
Make a list of guests to invite to your Thanksgiving dinner party. Send printed invitations, make phone calls or send digital invitations via email or an online service like pingg.com. Invitations should be sent out approximately three weeks before the dinner party. Make sure you ask guests to RSVP in plenty of time so you have a head count for planning purposes. Knowing the number of people attending will determine just about everything from what size of the turkey to table settings and chairs.
Plan The Menu
Decide what you will be serving for each course and make a list accordingly. In conjunction with the menu, make a shopping list of all the ingredients you will require for each dish. Don’t forget about the beverages. Three to four beverage choices should be sufficient and you can always ask your guests to bring a bottle of wine or their favorite drink. Make sure you are aware of any special dietary restrictions any of your guests may have.
Take An Inventory
Be prepared by taking a moment to go through your kitchen to take stock of items like serving platters, roasting pans, gravy boats, napkins, silverware, wine glasses and dishes. You’ll also want to assess your table and chair situation based on the number of guests attending. Knowing what you are lacking in advance will give you the time to fill in the gaps by purchasing or borrowing items you need so you will be prepared on Thanksgiving Day.
Clean & Decorate
Clean all your entertaining spaces a few days in advance so you will only have to do a quick pick up the day before. If you will be making any decorative items such as centerpieces or place cards, be sure to purchase your supplies and get those crafts done ahead of time. Keep it simple yet festive with pretty autumn colors in shades of brown, red, orange, yellow and green. Accent with pumpkins, cornucopias and fall leaves. Wash and press your table cloth and napkins for a crisp and neat presentation. Plan to set your table the night before your Thanksgiving gathering.
Create A Music Playlist
Music adds a nice ambiance to your holiday gathering. Set-up a playlist on your iPod and connect it to your home stereo to play throughout the day. Keeping it lighthearted and nostalgic will create a nice atmosphere for friends and family while helping tensions stay low.
Prepare For Leftovers
Thanksgiving always provides plenty of leftovers. Make sure that you have an adequate number of food containers and bags for packing up leftovers to send home with guests.
Create A Time Schedule
Charting out a timeline of tasks and when they need to be done will help you stay on track. Indicate the dishes that can be made ahead of time, those that can be made, frozen and reheated and those that must be cooked the day of the gathering. Be sure to include your non-cooking related tasks in your schedule.
Remember planning a successful Thanksgiving dinner party doesn’t have to be stressful! I hope you will find these tips helpful and that by planning and doing some tasks in advance you will be able to relax and enjoy the day!
Download these handy Thanksgiving Dinner printables to help you stay organized by clicking the images below.
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