Week 3: Stress-Free Thanksgiving – Space, Table, & Turkey Planning!

It’s the week before Thanksgiving and so hard to believe. I know it can be stressful if you are the one planning and preparing the feast for your family and friends. Remember the goal for the day is to be able to enjoy YOURSELF, as the hostess, and to focus on the people who are sitting around your table. It’s an honor to host and welcome people in our homes, on a day that takes much preparation and planning. For our family, we’ve been traveling with high school soccer play-offs and it’s been important for me to be organized and stay on top of my Thanksgiving Schedule! If you’ve missed my last two posts, you can catch up here:

Week 1: Invite, Plan, and Delegate
Week 2: Organize your Recipes and Shopping Lists

This week I’m thinking ahead to the space: What I want my Thanksgiving table to look like, who will sit where, and even the conversation around the table.

Do this NOW, this week:
1. The Space: Think ahead to how many guests are coming and your dinner table space, or if you plan to serve buffet-style.
2. The Table: Assuming you will be sitting down, think about what tablecloths you will use, napkins, dishes, etc.
3. Centerpiece: Come up with a plan (KISS: Keep It Simple, Sister!) for the centerpiece. Write it down in your notebook!
4. Placecards: Again, KISS, but plan a simple place card, perhaps one that you can tie to the water goblet.
5. Turkey: It’s time to order your turkey or have a plan for where you want to buy it and how you want to cook it. Will you be brining it? Cooking it in a bag?
6. Grocery shop: You can buy nonperishable items this week to make your shopping “lighter” next week. Get your lists out and start checking off what you will buy.
7. Coolers or extra refrigerator space: Think ahead to storage of the food the “day of,” if you have an extra refrigerator or you will need to have a cooler ready.

Even if you feel behind, come up with a plan. Get your notebook out and start making lists. Get your family to help out – give them jobs and remind them that Thanksgiving is a “family affair.” The weight of the Thanksgiving meal should not fall entirely upon the hostess. I know that I’ll be asking for a lot of help to tie it all together, and my family is usually very supportive and willing to help.

Willingness is good and I will take advantage of that.

How is your week ahead looking? Have you thought about your table and the list above, or are you worried about getting behind?

10 comments on “Week 3: Stress-Free Thanksgiving – Space, Table, & Turkey Planning!”

  1. As it’s now one week away, and I’m hosting for the first time ~ I’m feeling a bit unprepared. But, thankful for such great tips to make a plan and get organized! :)

  2. I’m not worried at all. It will just be me and my kids along with my mom and grandma. Nice and simple! :) Thanks for all the tips. I’m actually going to go shopping THIS week for everything.

  3. So just to make it official that I am crazy……. last week end Sherrie my wonderful bride of 31 years went to Women of Faith with her besties or as us husbands call them the Ya Ya’s….. So I was alone with the dog and what is a guy to do??? Well you had to ask, I set our table for Thanksgiving, ironed the table cloth, and napkins, set the entire table including water glasses, wine glasses, and ice tea glasses. It looks WONDERFUL with my new Turkey themed plates and bowls that we got at Tuesday Mornings for a song….. We have wanted a Thanksgiving dinner ware set ever since we say a Martha Stewart Thanksgiving special about 5 years ago. And this year we got them. And to make the day extra special my wife’s brother and wife are coming all the way from Kent Washington to have Thanksgiving with us. My wife has not had Thanksgiving with her brother for over 10 years, we are so looking forward to thier visit. But I had to share my obsession with you all, and I know you will say I am crazy, but in the best way ~~~ .
    Blessings to you and yours
    Curtis & Sherrie

  4. we’re traveling and it’s almost more stress than running your own show. gotta try to figure out some sides that either travel well (3 hours in the car) or can be made without interfering with the ongoing operation.

    maybe i’ll just bow out but bring snacks for Friday’s big rivalry weekend football games!!

  5. Well, since it’s not at our home this year, I haven’t thought a lot about it. I’m okay with that. But I admit I don’t really put a lot of thought into how the table will look or who will sit where. People sit where they want. I do consider what will go on the table and what will be served buffet style if anything. It just depends.

  6. Just need the cooking ingredients and ribbon to tie the napkins! Of course, I overbooked and am also hosting a brunch with some girlfriends THIS weekend! Well, good chance to get all arranged!

  7. There’s nothing worse than watching a host or hostess running around like a chicken with his/her head cut off. Planning is definitely key to an enjoyable holiday. After all, it is all about spending time with family and friends, right? Great post!

  8. I was on top of things, but those everyday monkey wrenches have gotten thrown in. One sick child at home will do that. Oh, and because I did such a fabulous job fixing someone else’s mess last year with the volleyball club’s uniforms…I’ve been offered the job this year! Yes, it’s this week!! Deep breath and carry on…for us it’s just immediate family who prefer plain and simple, so that’s a relief!

  9. This has turned into a crazy week. The embassy is switching out all of the govt owned furniture on Thursday- so I have to empty the bookcases, dressers, china cabinet, etc. and then put it all back once the new stuff is in (even the washer/dryer and water distiller!). Friday is my boy’s birthday and we’re going to let him ride all the different public transportation he wants- simple thrills (plus Domino’s- we have one now!)! Saturday is his party. I have a menu planned for Thanksgiving but no one has RSVP’d yet…a little annoying as I can’t just run to the store for Thanksgiving foods! {I just posted a yummy recipe for pumpkin-pecan cake with praline sauce if anyone needs something new on the dessert table!)

  10. I better get going. I’m still taking care of my husband after his total knee surgery. We have visiting nurses and physical therapists coming to our home and I have spend WAY TO MUCH time keeping the house spotless. That’s my perfectionist side coming out. I hate to have people think I’m a messy.
    Maybe I’ll get that turkey today.

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