I believe that some of my best work is done under pressure. In college I was the girl who, when I had a 10 page paper due Monday morning, I would start writing at 11pm Sunday night and get an A on the paper. Why stress for weeks about a term-paper? Instead, I would stress for 6 hours while writing, take a 2 hour nap, and go turn in my masterpiece to my 8am class.
As I have gotten older, I have had to learn the hard way that the rest of the world does not operate on my same timeline. For this reason, I will share with you some of the things I have learned cannot (or should not) be done the night before hosting Thanksgiving dinner.
1 – Invite guests for dinner. While inviting guests the day before will produce a couple lost souls, inviting friends and family a few weeks in advance will actually make your day an event. And don’t assume that just because you hosted last year people will assume they are invited again this year. You actually have to invite them again.
2- Buy the wine. This can be done the day before Thanksgiving, but you will end up spending more. The Bevmo 5 Cent Sale and other wine sales happen the first week of November, so stock up early. Just make sure you don’t drink it all before the big day….
3- Take your linens to be cleaned. Some cleaners have a 10 day turn-around for linens. To make sure your guests aren’t eating off of stained tablecloths, placemats, and table runners, take them in 2 weeks before dinner.
4- Plan your meal. Your guests will ask what they can bring, and if you don’t have a specific answer for them, you will get duplicates of side dishes. Trust me, you don’t want your dinner to turn into a competition of who makes the best green bean casserole. Plan your meal 2 weeks in advance so you can make specific requests and have a variety of dishes on the table.
5- Inventory your serving dishes, cookware, and serving utensils. After hosting Thanksgiving with mashed potatoes being served with a teaspoon out of Tupperware, you will realize the importance of doing this at least 1 week before. This will allow you enough time borrow or buy additional pieces if you need.
6- Buy your groceries. Doing this the day before almost guarantees you will have to go to multiple stores to find all you need. Do your shopping 1 week before Thanksgiving for the best selection of turkeys and vegetables. And then remember to keep your turkey in the freezer after you purchase it. No one is thankful for food poisoning.
Those are my 6 tips this year. I’m sure there will be a #7 after this year because, even though I do more preparation than I did in college, I still enjoy the adrenalin of getting things done just in time.