Also known as The Recipe-Free Checklist
Yes, having family and friends over for Thanksgiving is typically centered around the meal. Turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce (does anyone actually eat this stuff?), and the ultimate pumpkin pie are most often what we’re focused on. Although in our family, my Turtle Cheesecake is normally the first to go.
But what about preparing the home for the event? We need a checklist to remind us of all the little things that need to be done ahead of time so that there is plenty of time for the food and chatting with Grandma Ona. Yep, my grandma’s name really is Ona!
So here are a few things to do before even thinking about getting the food ready – there are plenty of other lists that can help you with cooking. And be sure to include your kids and hubby in helping you check off each task on the list.
1) Confirm who’s coming. You can’t really prepare the right amount of food or set the correct number of table settings if you don’t know who'll be dining with you.
- Do you need a separate table for kids? If so, here are some cute kid-friendly table settings to consider.
- Do you have enough place settings? If not, you can grab some great plates and silverware that look nice yet are generic enough to go with any china you already have.
- Enough chairs? Your local party rental shop can rent additional chairs, and even place settings for that matter.
2) Display Recipes in Sight. No, this is not a recipe post, but Real Simple Magazine suggests "taping" your recipes onto a cabinet so that you can easily see the instructions you're following. We have a better idea - use a Fodeez® Frame!
3) Fresh flowers or plants. These are best to pick up no more than 2 days in advance - even better for flowers if you wait until the day before. I especially like to place some nice smelling flowers in the bathrooms rather than a perfumy air freshener. While we do have some nice floral shops, I find the best deals can be found in the floral section of our grocery store.
4) Guest rooms. Double check that clean sheets are on the bed(s) and that towels, wash cloths and toiletry items are available in the bathrooms.
5) Toilet paper!!! Make sure every bathroom guests will use has ample paper goods. You don’t want to be running around looking for another roll when your 3-year-old nephew has just learned to poop in the toilet for the first time!
6) Pet Yard. On that note, if you have pets, make sure the yard has been cleared of all bombs that could be inadvertently traipsed into your house. Nothing ruins a party more than having to stop and help clean off shoes. Yuck!
7) Make it Fun! Make sure you have something fun in mind for all ages. It’s never too late to start a new tradition, and families will always remember the time they spent together.
A few ideas:
- Any board game is always a good option. Our family has spent years working up to a really good night of Trivial Pursuit for the adults. Even better is when the younger kids “earn” the right to join the adults for the competition. We have kept the game going past midnight on many occasions!
- It’s a bit difficult to describe, but our house is known for hosting “The Dog Races” every Thanksgiving. Here’s how it works
- Another fun event that needs a bit of explaining was described to me by my friend Beth. Her family tradition involves “Horse Races” with “horses” entered into the race by each family in attendance. Click for details.
- My new favorite, and one we will be implementing this year, is a Scavenger Hunt. I like this one because the older kids can take the younger kids around the neighborhood collecting items on their list. Not only is teamwork involved, but also a bit of caregiving and responsibility on the part of older kids. Suggested Scavenger Hunt list
- Minute to Win It. These “Minute” challenges are so simple and look like a ton of fun!
- So if you can’t tell, I’m not the one normally doing the cooking. We host Thanksgiving every year because it is my husband’s favorite holiday. I’m in charge of making the table look good, and then making sure everyone has a great time.
Thanks for visiting, and I’d love to hear of your ideas and traditions for an even better Thanksgiving celebration!