In surfing the net I came across an article about Stress Free Thanksgiving and thought hey that's right up my alley. So in reading it I have to agree with what was said. The articale was on iVillage and was written by Michele Capozolli. Here is where you can find the article. Here are her 7 steps and my notes on them.
Step 1 Extend the Invitation: What she does not include in this is that this is a time to think about and ask about special dietary needs of any of your guests. Like I have several diabetics on my husbands side of the family. They manage it well and don't require too much special preparation but I make sure to have a non-sweet tea available as well as a desert that is more diabetic friendly if they want it.
Step 2 Plan the Menu: If you do plan a little much make sure to invest in some ZipLock storage bags and containers so you can send some home with guests if you wish or can easy freeze for your lunches the next week.
Step 3 The Decor: What she does not mention is let your food be the decor for the table. Don't over crowd your table with decorations that are just going to be moved away once the food starts being passed around.
Step 4 Go Shopping: Also remember a frozen turkey takes about a week to thaw in the fridge so give yourself time to thaw it. Try to be done shopping the weekend before leaving only fresh items that need to be purchased the day or two before.
Step 5 Clean and Organize: Start with one section of one room at a time and get help. Husbands and Wives and kids can all have responsibilities. If it helps you look at each room and make a list of everything that needs to be done and check it off as you go.
Step 6: Set the Table.: Now if you are like me you use your table in the preparing of foods and this is not an option. But at least have everything out and stacked neatly and ready to go and check the table cloth and make sure there are not any stains on it from last year that you just assumed came out in the wash.
Step 7 start cooking: As for the day of give yourself plenty of time. Start things a little earlier than you think they need. Have several timers for the different things and label them so you know which one is timing what. Also have some easy to grab snacks for little ones and big ones that are just impatient. You may not want them to fill up on snacks but having them out of the kitchen while you are preparing the big feast is worth it.