I have been asked recently, what my family traditions were in regards to preparing for this feast of a day. As long as I remember, until I was about 18 when my parents divorced, our home was the place to be on Turkey day. We never had less than 15 people at our little San Francisco flat. Here is what my moms timeline consisted of:
Invites: We never sent out invitations, because like I said it was just kind of known that Thanksgiving was going to be held at our house, but I would suggest that if this is your first time single or as a couple hosting Thanksgiving, you may want to send out invitations to get a tradition started. Not only will it look great, but it will show your guests that you are truly happy to invite them to your celebration. TONS of places have great card packs that you could type on your home computer, or you can go to places like www.shutterfly.com or www.TinyPrints.com and have them professionally done. IF THIS IS SOMETHING YOU PLAN ON DOING, make sure that the invitations go out within the first week of November. Ask your guests to R.S.V.P by the Friday or Saturday before Thanksgiving, that way when you do your shopping you will know how many you need to feed. Usually people have an idea of where they are going to be on Thanksgiving, so giving your guests time to reply and you having time for their response, is what you wanna do.
Cleaning: I had two parents that worked 40+ hours a week growing us, so when it came to getting the house prepared for the big day, we took the first two weekends and did the cleaning. We polished the silver, the cooper, washed Grandmas plates and gold silverware. We changed the linens and picked out what we were going to use for Thanksgiving. We decorated the mantle, got out the harvest candles, and make the house look warm and cozy. The week of Thanksgiving was when we got down to the nitty gritty. Dusting, mopping (not that these weren't done on a regular basis, but we had DEEP cleaning time), organizing, putting things away, cleaning the carpet were all a part of that three day countdown the week of Thanksgiving. That way, come that 4th Thursday in November, all we had to do was set the table, light the candles, maybe one last vacuum run and enjoy our company.
Menu: Usually, if you are the one that has been doing Thanksgiving for years and years like we did, you pretty much have your menu set. Whether you want to alter things or not, you have your basics down and you don't need to go out and look for things to eat. If you are doing this for the first time, you may want to follow some of these tips when planning your debut Turkey dinner
- Look at magazines that are food related, i.e. Martha Stewart Living, REALsimple, Food Network magazing and tab some recipes you think may work for your meal.
- Look up websites that are food related, i.e. www.marthastewart.com, www.thechew.com, www.foodnetwork.com. These places are great resources for recipes that would fit the bill for your meal.
- Look back into your childhood and your old family traditions, and see if you want to incorporate any of those into your newly found role of Thanksgiving feeder.
IF YOU DO DECIDE TO TRY SOMETHING NEW----- PLEASE try the recipe way in advance. the last thing you need is a recipe fail the day of Thanksgiving, and your local grocer is C-L-O-S-E-D trying to enjoy their holiday! Give yourself some time to tweak if necessary.
GROCERY SHOPPING for the big day, in my humble opinion, should be done by the SUNDAY before Thanksgiving. You have to let time for the turkey to defrost, and you need to allow yourself time in case you forgot anything. Nothing will go bad if you get it Sunday, were only talking 4 days here people. If you are super on top of your game, and you already have an idea of how many mouths you will be feeding, go ahead and buy the non-perishables as soon as you see them on the shelves. Grocers do a great job of segregating holiday items in one bunch and putting them on sale, so you could buy them all in one place for one great price!!
**One rule of thumb that my mama always taught me is...calculate how many people have said "yes" to coming to your feast, and then +4. There are a few reason for this; 1) You never know if last minute air brains who forgot to call, decide to show up at your door, and 2) LEFTOVERS anyone?!?!**
So, its now the big day....you have all the shopping done, you have all of you hors d'oeuvres and snacks ready to go, what is there left to do? Well, if you followed a timeline just right, all that is really required of this day is 1) popping in the turkey and few things that need to be baked 2) enjoy the parade, football, a nice cup of coffee and 3) be thankful and enjoy the company that you have chosen to celebrate this day of blessings and gifts. This holiday wasn't meant for stress...it was made fore dress(ing) ha ha ha!!!
Here's to wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to you and yous and I am truly thankful for your time and your support!!!! GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE!!!