While many are talking of Christmas already, I want to share some tips and ideas for my 2nd favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. I want to help you be efficient, yet peaceful (IE: not STRESSED!) when it comes to planning for this holiday (and any others to come).

Remember though, this efficiency is not just so you can do more stuff. It is so you have time to enjoy the important things, like family and friends.

So Many Choices, What to Cook?

With the advent of Pinterest (and a Thanksgiving search), now we have access to untold 1000s of ideas of dishes to cook! There are so many things I want to make! Depending on the complexity of the dish, you may decide to give it a try before Thanksgiving, to make sure it turns out just right!

I actually found this recipe on Pinterest today and can’t wait to try it! Apple Cider Glazed Sweet Potatoes

As a matter of fact, having a family meal earlier in the month with some of the recipes you want to try would be lots of fun! No stress, no frills, just practicing and perfecting your dishes. What a way to break you into the holiday season, with the scent of turkey or sweet potatoes or pie!

And speaking of pie, and other desserts, the great thing about desserts is that most of them can be made ahead of time. Begin baking the weekend before Thanksgiving for the recipes that can handle that. Bake one dish each day of that week, if you need to. Or have a baking marathon the Sunday before. Be sure that you include your kids and husband in on this.  Make it a fun family event, building memories together.

Make sure you have your menu settled the week before Thanksgiving and get your shopping done as early as possible. Double check your recipes and ingredients when you get home to make sure you have everything you need. You don’t want to send hubby on a grocery store run at 10 pm on Wednesday evening!

This week, dig out all of those larger serving dishes that only get used this time of the year. Make sure you have what you need so you have time to make purchases or ask a family member to bring theirs!

Preparing Your Home

With guests coming, you will need to make sure your house is in order. The week before, do a thorough cleaning. (You might want to check out this post: 10 steps to clean your house FAST!)  This way you can focus on cooking and setting the atmosphere in your home the week of Thanksgiving. Of course you will have to clean the kitchen as you go, but it will be much easier if the rest of the house is done!

On Thanksgiving morning, run the vacuum again in your main living area, check the bathroom the guests will be using for toilet paper, hand soap and towel. Go outside and make sure the front of your house looks inviting and that none of your decorations have fallen or blown out of place.

While the house should smell great from all the cooking, you can always light candles or simmer a pot of apple cider with cloves, cinnamon and orange peels.It’s a great way to cover up the strong smell of onions!

Preparing Yourself for Company

While most people love having company and playing hostess, it can be overwhelming and exhausting. Make sure to do as much as possible ahead of time. Enlist the help of your spouse and your children if they are over the age of 2! And make sure to coordinate efforts with those who are coming. Discuss dishes ahead of time.

Most importantly, be sure to get enough sleep in the days before Thanksgiving.

There is a great FREE resource at Life Your Way to help you plan for Thanksgiving. I encourage you to print the Thanksgiving Your Way ebook and planner and start planning today!

Is Thanksgiving dinner at YOUR house? Are you stressing about it already?