With the end of October approaching and our fall crafts prettily placed throughout our homes, it’s time to start planning for Thanksgiving. Getting a head start on shopping is something that makes the day stress free for me. Procrastination just doesn’t work for me.
My husband and I are so happy that we’ll have our daughter and son-in-law, my oldest son, daugther-in-law and their two awesome children here this year. We will miss our younger son and his wife and their little guy. Living across the country from each other is tough when it’s holiday time. Including us, there will be eight here for Thanksgiving. That’s a small number, but it doesn’t mean there is no planning involved.
Thanksgiving planning doesn’t have to be a chore, nor does it have to involve lots of stress. Planning early is the key. With family arriving the day before Thanksgiving, I’ll need to have meals and snacks on hand for Wednesday through Saturday. I’ve found that the easiest way for me to make sure I don’t forget things is to create a spread sheet. I use Excel and list out the meals I’ll be serving, the snack items I’ll want to have and a beverage list.
From that spread sheet, I then make a shopping list. Having sweet potato souffle? Don’t forget the pecans! Having cherry salad? Don’t forget the canned pineapple! Seeing my menu helps me to remember to list our all the ingredients I’ll need for each dish.I’ll send the shopping list to my phone, so I’ll have handy access to it when I’m out shopping.
As I’m making the shopping list, I divide it up into categories:
Ready to Eat Snacks
From this list, I determine when to buy which items. I begin shopping soon enough to give me four shopping trips, the last of which falls on the Monday prior to Thanksgiving Day. This year, my shopping will begin on November 3. I break this up for a couple of reasons. 1)It spreads out the cost over four weeks and 2)Who wants to carry in a bazillion bags of groceries all at once? Not me!
Thanksgiving Shopping, 2014
Week 1~November 3
Week 2~November 10
Week 3~November 17
Ready to eat snacks
Week 4~November 24
*Plus a trip to Total Wine & More
If I follow my list, then I won’t find myself on Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving wondering if I remembered to buy cinnamon or sugar or peas.
I have a pantry cabinet in our garage that I use as a holding area for all the non perishable items. If you have limited space, I would suggest using a storage bin or even a very large cardboard box to hold all your nonperishable items in one convenient place. Easy access means less time spent searching through the cupboards.
By Monday morning before Thanksgiving, I will have completed all of my shopping, giving me most of Monday and all of Tuesday to bake. On Wednesday, I’ll make things that can be refrigerated overnight for serving the next day.
I’ll also create a “To Do” list for the Week of Thanksgiving. It serves as a reminder of when I want to do what and I check off items as they are completed. I’ll post this list on my fridge to keep it in my line of sight. This works for meal planning as well as for remembering to freshen up the guest rooms and baths. I’m a list maker! It works for me.
I’m sure most seasoned hostesses have their own method of Thanksgiving planning, but this method works well for me. Do you have any tips you’d like to share?