General Interest

Stress-Free Guide to Hosting Thanksgiving in Your New Home

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Moving into your new home right before the holidays can be an exciting and sometimes stressful adventure. If you will be hosting Thanksgiving in your new home, you’ll want to streamline the process to minimize stress so you can enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends in your new home.

Make a Plan

Decide on a Theme

Get started as early as possible with planning your Thanksgiving theme. You may want to go with a traditional approach, especially If you already have decorations to use. And you know what box they’re in. If you haven’t had a housewarming party for your new home yet, consider combining the two events. It will lend a more casual feel to the gathering and lower your stress about preparing the perfect Thanksgiving dinner. Whatever theme you decide on, planning in advance will lower your stress levels and increase your enjoyment.

Plan Which Areas of the House Will Be Used

Decide in advance where you will set everything up and which rooms and outdoor areas you will use. If the weather is nice, having a cooler with drinks and an outdoor drink station with hors d'oeuvres can keep the kitchen less crowded and make it easier to finish last-minute food prep. However, if the weather doesn’t cooperate, you can set up a small table outside the kitchen area as the drink station and put hors d'oeuvres on the coffee table or breakfast table. If you or a family member or friend will be giving guests tours of your new home, do it as soon as the guests arrive before they start eating and drinking to avoid having crumbs of food or any unpleasant spills and stains on your new carpet. You may even want to ask them to remove their shoes for the tour especially if it’s wet or snowy outside.

Make a List of Non-Food Items You Need

Don’t forget to make a list of the non-food essentials you’ll need when hosting Thanksgiving in your new home. It’s easy to get so focused on making sure you have the right size turkey and everything for the side dishes, that you forget to buy aluminum foil, wax paper, plastic wrap and parchment paper to have on hand. You’ll also want to have plenty of trash bags and cleaning supplies at the ready.

Invite Guests Early and Request They RSVP

Don’t wait until the last minute to invite your guests. Send invitations out in whatever format you prefer and request that guests RSVP so you have an approximate count of how many people to prepare for. That head count affects everything from the size of the turkey you’ll need and how much additional food to have on hand as well as chairs, cups, drinks and everything else you need to plan for.

Prepare a Menu

You may already have a good idea of what you’re going to serve and how to prepare the dishes, but it never hurts to have some easy Thanksgiving recipe ideas to choose from to help make things simpler and cut down on prep time.

Make a Food Shopping List

Once you decided on your dinner menu, make a detailed shopping list of everything you’ll need, or might need, so you don’t have any surprises or last-minute menu changes. Do your shopping in advance and freeze the turkey and anything else that might spoil. Make sure to allow plenty of time to safely thaw out the turkey so your hungry guests aren’t waiting to have dinner.

Have Guests Bring Side Dishes

Another great way to lower stress levels when hosting Thanksgiving in your new home is to ask your guests to bring a side dish. This will minimize the time you need to prepare the food and avoid the cleanup of additional pots and pans. If you have a specific menu, you can give guests a list of possible dishes to bring when they RSVP. If you’re having a more casual dinner theme or combining it with a housewarming party, just about any dish they bring will work and add more variety to the dinner.

Create a Task Countdown Calendar

Once you have your basic plan in place, your guest list and your food and non-food item shopping lists together, create a simple task calendar. Your task countdown calendar should contain everything that needs to be done and the dates by which they need to be completed. Having a project countdown calendar will help you feel more organized and less stressed especially as you check off items in the weeks preceding your dinner.

Do Your Prep in Advance

The more you can prepare in advance of Thanksgiving Day, the less stressed you will be and the more time you’ll have to enjoy the dinner and guests.

Clean Out the Fridge

Before you go out and buy all the food you need, clean out your refrigerator to make room for everything. Don’t forget you’ll need room for your turkey and other meats in the freezer. You’ll also need room in the fridge for the rest of the side dishes. You may want to have a spare cooler with a block of dry ice on Thanksgiving Day for any food that needs to stay cool after it’s prepared to keep the fridge from getting too jam-packed.

Setup The Table and Other Food Areas

Set your main dining table and other areas up as far in advance as practical. You’ll be able to spend more time getting them set up the way you want them without feeling rushed. If you discover you need additional items, you’ll have plenty of time to get them without getting stressed.

Prepare Side Dishes Ahead of Time

Much of the prep for side dishes can be done early and finished up in the morning before guests arrive. Cut the bread for stuffing the day before and keep it in a sealed plastic bag. You can make gravy days before and refrigerate or freeze it. Reheat your gravy once the turkey is done and mix in the defatted turkey drippings to add flavor and thickness. Soup can be made in advance and refrigerated or frozen. Reheating the soup is quick and easy. Even mashed potatoes can be partially prepared in advance. The potatoes can be cooked the day before and stored in the fridge. They can be reheated in the microwave and finished up quickly right before dinner. Once dishes are prepared and hot, keep them warm until dinner time using insulated coolers or a crock-pot. A thermos works great for keeping gravy hot until it’s needed. Dishes that need to be kept cool can go in a cooler with dry ice to help keep the fridge organized.

Minimize Cleanup

Cleaning up after a dinner party, especially when hosting Thanksgiving in your new home, can be a huge chore that can be stressful and take away from the enjoyment of the holiday. You may want to schedule a house cleaning service to come as soon as possible after the holiday to get your house back in perfect condition.

Accept Help

Accepting help from guests to help clear the table and clean up afterward can help ease the burden and stress of Thanksgiving dinner or any dinner party. Make sure to have takeout containers available for leftovers so guests can take extra food home with them to make cleaning up easier. Clean the dishwasher out in the morning and run it and put things away before dinner if necessary. That way it will be clean and ready for all the small pans, plates and glasses after dinner to make cleaning up easier.

Use Disposable Bakeware

One of the worst cleanup jobs is cleaning a large turkey roasting pan after Thanksgiving dinner. Consider using disposable, sturdy aluminum bakeware you can throw away when you’re done to eliminate all the pot and pan scrubbing. Or line your roasting pan with a large, single piece of aluminum foil to catch the juices so they won’t burn on the bottom of the pan.

Have Cleaning Supplies Ready

There’s no time to waste when someone spills red wine on white carpet or upholstery but using the wrong cleaner in a panic can only make things worse. Have a cleaning plan worked out in advance with the necessary supplies to quickly tackle food and drink spills the best way.

Have Fun

Above all, remember that the most important reason for hosting Thanksgiving in your new home is to spend time with friends and family. Take time during the day to think about what you are grateful for and enjoy the time you have with your guests. Even if the meal doesn’t turn out as planned, as long as you’re having fun, so will your family and friends that have come to enjoy the day with you.

Epcon Communities

If you’re still looking for that new home to celebrate the holidays in with friends and family, Epcon Communities offers single-level living with luxury ranch open floorplan designs in friendly communities located across the country. Contact us to find out about low-maintenance, resort-style amenities and all the benefits we offer.

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