Erika Wassall, the Jersey Farm Scribe here with Thanksgiving tips to save you time and money.
I know, I know, it’s only November 11th, and many people don’t start planning Thanksgiving until a week or so in advance. But this really is one of those holidays that pre-planning can save a LOT of time, and even money.
Really PLANNING out a shopping list and not rushing to get everything in one day can save money because you can shop the sales more. And instead of telling your relatives they can “bring whatever” or that “a dessert would be nice” giving them more direction with enough time to accommodate it can turn a stressful, kitchen-laden day into the family-time memories it’s meant to be.
Give real assigned dishes to others:
Generally speaking, most people actually ENJOY feeling like they’re bringing useful Thanksgiving dishes to the table. It makes them feel more a part of the holiday. And it doesn’t just have to be appetizers and desserts. Here are a few side dishes that any guest can easily make even a day or two beforehand and bring with them.
Don’t feel like it’s a burden. You’re hosting the holiday. They’ll probably be grateful to feel like they’re contributing.
Have them make a big tray in a disposable aluminum tray. Ask them to lightly warm it in the oven before they come (just do so it’s not coming cold). Then just cover with foil and pop it in the oven to warm up right before serving.
Sweet potatoes w/ marshmallows
Green bean casserole
Really almost any side dish can be made beforehand and then just warmed up.
Have a timed out plan for the oven:
Sometimes we tend to forget that we only have ONE oven and it only has so much space. Really sitting down and timing out what goes in when can save you from a sudden uh-oh!
Personally, I like to have everything else already cooked before Thanksgiving. Then the day-of, I cook the actual turkey. When the turkey is done, it should really sit for at least 30 minutes before serving. At this point I put EVERYTHING else in the oven and let it warm up.
It helps me avoid the last minute crazy right before serving.
Make those adorable desserts a kid project!
I LOVE this idea. If you love having that super cute dessert to display and snack on, make it a project the kids can do. It’ll take the responsibility off of you, AND give the kids something to do before dinner.
Between the older kids helping the little ones and the other parents supervising, it’ll be one less thing you have to worry about!
This cute acorn candies project I wrote about last year would work.
And here’s a link to a cute pilgram hat cookie project that the kids can help with.
Or these pilgrim hats from Taste of Home.
Make what YOU like!
This one may be the most important. Don’t try to worry about what each person coming will want to eat. Focus on what you like to eat, and make. Fact is, usually the person who cares most about the food is the person who made it… even on Thanksgiving.
Keep in mind that the holiday is not actually about side dishes, turkey cooking methods or if the apple pie has time to be heated up before Aunt Betty needs to leave. It’s about being together, laughing, and
Not everything is going to go right, and really, sometimes that’s what family memories are all about.
I hope these Thanksgiving tips help you make most out of your holiday and your family time. What additional Thanksgiving tips do YOU always use that help the day go as smoothly as possible?