I know – we aren’t even past Halloween yet. (I’m as bad as Target and Macy’s…) But hear me out. I want you to me the least stressed hostess on the block. I want you to give thanks that a bunch of this stuff is already done. I want you to enjoy that piece of pumpkin pie instead of kicking yourself for not having all the ingredients.

  1. Make a Menu  I know it seems obvious, but once you write down everything you’re having, you can start to divide, conquer, and shop.
  2. Invite Others to Cook I think that one of the big ways that young hostesses go wrong is that they want to do everything themselves. But, if you are inviting other people over, they will feel better being able to contribute (with the possible exception of your younger, single brother…) No one wants to feel guilty because you’re stressed out by having too many things to do. Plus, you’re going to need all your precious oven/fridge space. You will be so grateful that you sister brought the pies (and you could always ask that younger brother to bring extra ice.)
  3. Gather Up Your Recipes I hate it when I can’t find the recipe the day of. So don’t wait. Gather up all those family favorites into one place. (I even transferred them all onto my computer so I can just search for “Thanksgiving Recipes” and they are all there. I also keep copies in my Holiday Binder so they are safe and sound.
  4. Create Your Shopping List This is not only a stress saver, it’s a money saver as well. You can buy your non-perishables and frozen turkey when they hit rock bottom prices, and spread the money hit over several weeks.
  5. Wash Your Linens Linens” sounds so formal – like you’re going to be getting out the while lace tablecloth and matching napkins. Round these parts, it’s the fall colored table cloth, the funky yellow, orange and purple napkins, and some cute theme-appropriate dish towels. I just want to give them a wash and make sure they’re not too wrinkled.
  6. Clean Out Your Fridge and pantry, if it needs it. You’re going to be storing some extra food for the next several weeks. Time to recycle those boxes of cereal that no one will eat.
  7. Give Your Guest Bathroom a Once Over This is the room that I ignore until actual company is coming. Make sure you have fresh towels, soap, working light bulbs, a scented candle (or some room freshener if there are little kids)  and a large stock of TP. Your guests will thank you.
  8. Get Some Leftover Containers Even if they’re just Chinese take out containers, you will be so happy when you can send the leftovers home with all your guests. (Of course reserving enough for your own Turkey, Cranberry, Stuffing Sandwich for Friday.) And that way you won’t be sending your Tupperware off with people and looking at them with judgement when they don’t return it in a timely manner…
  9. Case Your Neighbor’s House If you have a neighbor who will be traveling over the holiday, see if you can borrow their oven and some fridge space. (Leave them a plate of cookies as a thank you!)
  10. Cook Five Things Ahead Look at your menu and see what can be done ahead of time. Here are some ideas of things to be prepped in advance:
  • Make cookie dough ahead of time and freeze
  • Make casseroles ahead of time, then freeze before cooking
  • Cheeseballs can be made in advance and frozen
  • Brew iced tea
  • Prep pies the day before and bake the day of

So tell me your best trick for making your holiday a less-stress situation.

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