November 17, 2010

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving Part 3

Season and Holiday Stencil - ThanksgivingIf you have been reading my blog, you have seen the first and second parts of this series, Getting Ready for Thanksgiving Part 1 and Part 2.  I hope it will help you to get prepared and organized for Thanksgiving and that it will provide you with tips and ideas to make things easier and more inexpensive.  Speaking of inexpensive, for some other money saving ideas, check out my post Ways to Save on Thanksgiving.

Below are some ideas for this week’s preparations.  Keep in mind that everyone’s holiday experience is different.  Do what works for you and your family!  Don’t worry about what Martha Stewart or Rachel Ray would have on their holiday table—do what you think will be memorable and important to your family.  Don’t stress about the rest.

  • Pull out your planning notebook and review what you’ve accomplished thus far.  How is your menu looking?  What about the guest list?  Add any items to your list of to-do’s that you didn’t get accomplished in the last weeks but still feel are important.
  • Continue to incorporate the theme of Thanksgiving into your homeschooling, Bible study, story and craft time with your children.  They’ll appreciate what the holiday means and will be more excited about the big day.
  • Continue to take a little time for yourself each week.  This is the season when people tend to put on a few pounds.  Make a preemptive strike by exercising, drinking more water, watching what you eat, and adding in more fruits and vegetables.  (Before starting any exercise routine, check with your healthcare provider first).  Take time each day for prayer and meditation.  Spend time in  your garden if that is restorative. 
  • Set up food stations.  Having an area where guests can make or pour their own drinks or an area for snacks while watching the parade or game allows guests to help themselves as they are hungry or thirsty.  For a drink station, gather glasses, cocktail napkins, soft drinks, any other drinks that don’t require refrigeration, an ice bucket, and an extra bar towel in case there are spills.  If serving wine, put out a bottle opener.  If using plastic glasses, put a sharpie next to the glasses so that guests can label as they pour.  For a snack station, pull out bowls that you will be using, any non-perishable snacks that you will be serving, any serving pieces that are needed, napkins, and small plates. 
  • Iron tablecloth and napkins.  If using cloth, now is the time to iron if you need to do so.  Ironing is about my least favorite chore of all, and it is the last thing I want to have on my mind when my guests are about to arrive. 
  • Continue to shop the sales.  Watch for deals on any of the ingredients you have on your shopping list for Thanksgiving.  Pick them up when you have a good coupon or the price is right.  Remember that next week the stores will be jam packed.  If you don’t want to fight with other customers over the size of the turkey you want, pick it up now.  I try to stay out of the grocery unless the need is very great on the week of Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • Set up a craft station for the kids.  Children might not want to watch the football game and might become bored or restless while waiting to eat.  Plan ahead and have a few activities for them that don’t involve video games. 
  • If you are traveling this holiday season, map out your trip.  Have a map of the states in which you will be traveling even if you have GPS.  You never know when a road you are traveling isn’t on the GPS most updated file, and you don’t want to get lost and be late for dinner.  If you have AAA, ask them to make a trip tick for you so that you’ll be aware of any road construction or detours.
  • Decide on music.  If you’ll be playing music during dinner, have it ready.  Download music, use Pandora, or pull out a few CDs. 
  • Games. Our family loves to play games after we eat.  We almost always have a new board or card game that someone has bought, and we have the traditional favorites that we are always sure to play.  Pull out any card or board games so that you won’t have to dig around for them on Thanksgiving. 
  • Charge the cameras.  Charge any camera or video camera batteries.  If using real film, have it ready. 
  • Get ready for Christmas and holiday cards.  I try to start my Christmas cards right after Thanksgiving.  To streamline the process, I have my Christmas card addresses saved so that they can be printed on labels.  I have free return address labels that we’ve received from various sources.  If you will be sending a photo in your cards, now might be a good time to have a photo shoot with your family or at least the smallest members of your family. 
  • Look at the outside of your home.  Try to make it a little more welcoming if needed.  Cut back the bushes, weed around the shrubs, add a few pansies in pots on the front porch, decorate the mailbox—do whatever you find refreshing and energizing and don’t stress about the rest. 
  • Look at the menu and prep.  Look at the menu and recipes on which you’ve decided.  Consider what you can do now to save you a bit of time next week in the kitchen. 

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