By Alicia Blake
Thanksgiving is not only a time worth celebrating with the family and friends, it is also a festivity where food, as well as stress, are literally overwhelming. And all the hassles begin with the preparation of the Thanksgiving dinner.
In actuality, preparing Thanksgiving dinner can be quite daunting, but there are many ways to reduce the level of stress during this stage of the celebration, to enable you to come up with a special dinner for you and your loved ones. Below is a simple and easy guide for a relatively stress-free and festive Thanksgiving celebration.
First, make a list of to-do things and make sure that each undertaking has its corresponding timeline so that you are assured that every event is covered. It is more efficient to prepare a list of things to do for the event a few days before Thanksgiving dinner, and a list of things to do by the hour on the day itself.
Of course, you need enough energy to enable you to perform well in the occasion so it is better that prior to the event, you take your daily dose of vitamin C. Also, do not skip doing your fitness exercises. Doing so, first thing in the morning, not only perks you up but promotes confidence as well. If you already feel overwhelmed, pause for a while and take a few deep breaths.
It will also help you a lot if you always look at the brighter side of things. Instead of seeing the task of preparing Thanksgiving dinner as a chore, consider it a blessing, as you are given an opportunity to share a special dinner with family and friends. Learn to delegate tasks to, or graciously accept help from, others. Dividing the tasks makes them more manageable.
With regards to the food preparation, give a new recipe that you want to serve on Thanksgiving night a trial run a week or two before the festivity to give you time to look for other recipes in case the first one does not work out well. Or, you may consider step-saver recipes available like frozen pies, pre-cooked side dishes, and even oven-ready turkeys that will not only save you the energy, but the time as well. In other words, opt for foods that can be prepared ahead of time. Also, anticipate unexpected guests to show up at your doorstep by storing ready-to-serve snacks such as chips, nuts, crackers, and pretzels.
Take up guests on their offer of bringing specialty dishes on Thanksgiving dinner. Just take note who brings what so you have an idea on what else to add in order to complete the meal. If you really cannot manage a Thanksgiving dinner, especially when it is for a huge group of people, it is quite okay to hire a catering service or to hold the dinner in a restaurant.
Pull out the serving pieces that you intend to use for Thanksgiving dinner one day before. If desired, tag them so that you already know what piece to use for the turkey and what bowl to use for the soup.
Now, cleaning up the dishes immediately after the big dinner itself can be a major chore that may seem impossible to accomplish. Go for disposables whenever possible, whether they be plates, cups, utensils, and/or pans. You can never go wrong by simply dumping these in a garbage bag.
Finally, set a reward for yourself after Thanksgiving dinner. A day at the spa can be a great motivator. Better yet, reflect on all the things that you are thankful for the past year, which is the true essence of Thanksgiving.