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Prepare Ahead for a
Stress-free, Fun-filled Holiday!

Thanksgiving Fun 1

Have a Happier Holiday

It may seem too early to plan for Thanksgiving, but it's never too early to be prepared. Planning ahead will help you enjoy the holiday with less stress. Spend more time enjoying your friends and family. Have some Thanksgiving Fun!

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Thanksgiving Fun
General Tips

Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's holidays are always stacked right on top of each other. Even if the holiday festivities are not celebrated in your home, if you're over the age of 18, you're probably expected to do more than just show up and eat.

Make Thanksgiving fun for others. Be proactive, instead of reactive. If you're not the host/hostess of the event, be polite and call the host/hostess and see if there is something you can do or bring that will lighten his/her burden. Even if they tell you "No," they will remember (and appreciate) that you were thoughtful enough to ask.

We should always recall the many blessings and privileges we have in the U.S., not just at Thanksgiving. We truly have so much to be thankful for.

Take some time to reflect on all your blessings. Living in the U.S. is a privilege. Here's a list of some blessings to jog your memory and get you started: freedom to worship as we please, freedom of speech, voting, home, family, friends, health, wealth . . .

Consider being a blessing to others less fortunate. Use this time to make donations to the homeless shelters, Goodwill and food banks. To quote St. Francis of Assisi: "It is in giving that we receive."

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Thanksgiving Fun
Preparation Tips

If you want to have more Thanksgiving fun and the party is at your house, these tips will help you plan your Thanksgiving event. By planning ahead, you'll be able to "savor" the holiday:

  • Cleaning Hopefully, you've completed your fall cleaning earlier. If not, check out the Fall Cleaning Tips in the September issue of Messy Makeover Magazine. You have to be a subscriber to access the archives. Use the link on this page to subscribe.
  • Menu Preparation Not everyone eats turkey on Thanksgiving Day. Different cultures have different traditions. I know of one family who always has squid every year for Thanksgiving dinner! While not every family has such exotic tastes, menu planning and preparation is still the first step in good holiday planning regardless of what's on the menu.
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  • Plan Ahead Many items (especially canned goods) can be purchased well in advance. Some entrees can be cooked ahead and frozen without losing flavor, nutrition or texture. If you have a dish that can be frozen, cook it ahead of time and freeze it. If you're not sure how long items can be frozen, check out the tips on freezer charts and freezer storage guidelines

  • Delegate Delegate items to family, guests or other attendees. You don't have to prepare everything! Even people that don't cook can bring chips and store bought dips, bags of ice, a bakery dessert or a jar of pickles. Everyone should contribute.

  • Shop Once you have your menu planned, write out the ingredients for each dish. Check your refrigerator and pantry for items that you already have on hand. Your budget will appreciate it. Create your shopping list and purchase what you can ahead of time.

  • Special Items Don't forget about items such as plastic wrap, zip lock bags, aluminum foil, wax paper, paper towels, etc. If using prepackaged mixes, check the contents and directions for other items you may need to prepare it (eggs, milk, etc.).
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  • Decorations Part of the holiday fun is decorating. I personally love fall colors and fall decorations! Use a combination of flowers, gourds, leaves and berries to dress up your home and your table. Scarecrows, dried corn, turkeys and horns-of-plenty are attractive as well. Candles are welcoming, just be sure to put them in a safe area away from small children and pets.

  • Have Fun You don't have to be Martha Stewart or spend a lot of money. Create some family fun. Set aside some time with your family and make your own holiday decorations. Plan ahead and shop early. Fall decorations come out in hobby and craft stores as early as July!

  • Guest List Make your guest list early. Realize that some people have more than one house to visit on Thanksgiving. Try to time your Thanksgiving celebration so that the majority of your guests don't feel pulled in different directions.

  • Commit Get a firm commitment from your guests as soon as possible. Make sure to write down which dish each person is bringing for your menu. Have a back up plan for that menu item in case of last minute cancellations or "no shows."

  • Table setting If you have a formal dining area or dedicated space, set your table and put out your decorations the day before. This will eliminate last minute rushing around.

  • Timing Make sure you check how long it takes to cook each item. Timing is everything when preparing large meals. You don't want to over or under cook foods or have dishes getting cold (dry, hard, etc.) because another item is still cooking.

    Following these tips and planning ahead will help you to enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday stress free so you can have more Thanksgiving fun!

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