A Plan to Enjoy

This is the first year my darling husband and I will be hosting his family for Thanksgiving. We both enjoy hosting parties and opening up our home to friends and family. It brings us great joy and we hope this Thanksgiving will be filled with lots of love and laughter, and of course great food.

I am sure you have read many articles about how to stress-less during the holiday season and I would like to add a few tips that I have found helpful to really enjoy family and food at holiday parties without feeling overwhelmed and cloudy headed all the while.

Fitting 30 people into our humble adobe may be stretching it a bit, but with a little creativity we have found a way to do it. Praying that the Arizona sun will not fail us, we plan to have one table outside on the patio and one table right inside in the dinning room. Pictures to follow!

After hosting a few birthday and dinner parties we found that we needed to set a few ground rules. Here they are:

First, my hubby and I made a pack that we were not going to buy food just for our guests. Sounds a bit snobbish and rude I know…but, we found ourselves buying twice the food in order to accommodate our allergies and those without allergies. This was just getting too expensive and we would end up with leftovers that we had to throw out if no one took them home. Now, our rule is we only buy what WE can eat. That means no gluten filled food, and only a little dairy and sugar on special occasions, and only if we are going to eat it.

Courtesy Martha Stewart

Second, plan. Planning your menu ahead of time will save you tons of time and stress in the long run. I am sure you have all heard this before, but it really is true.

Here is my guide for planning for great, stress-less party. It works every time.

  • 4-3 weeks before your party:
    • Invite guests and get RSVP’s, ask people if they have food allergie at this time.
    • If you are having a pot luck style meal, let your guests know what they should bring and how much. Make sure to let guests know of any allergies ahead of time.
    • Order your turkey. Most butcher shops ask that you order ahead of time to ensure you get the correct bird size for your party. I ordered my turkey from Hobe Meats last year and it was great! They carry free range, organic meat and it tasts great.
    • Plan menu. (Remember to include a healthy appetizer.)
  • 1 week ahead of party:
    • Make your grocery list. Buy any non-perishable goods, napkins, grocery bags, take-home containers for leftovers, etc.
    • Clean. Don’t leave all the cleaning for the day of the party. Take time to clean out your fridge (you’ll need the room), wash windows, clean any sheets and bedding if family will be staying with you.
    • Prepare table settings.
    • Make sure you have all the necessary cooking equipment. In addition to the usual assortment of pots and pans, locate a cheese grater, a strainer, an electric mixer and various sized mixing bowls and baking dishes.
  • 3 days before:
    • Go shopping for groceries.
  • 1-2 days before party:
    • Prepare all of your side dishes and pies that don’t require heating.
    • Pick up your turkey from the butcher or defrost if bought frozen.
    • Get dinner rolls, salad, drinks, ice, napkins and table decorations.
    • Clean house as needed.
  • Thanksgiving day:
    • Prepare turkey about 6 hours before guests arrive.
    • Prepare the rest of the food.
    • Set the table and serve the meal.
    • Remember to be thankful and enjoy!





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