I think for the last two Thanksgivings, someone in our house has been sick. And this year, sadly, is no exception. Baylor started running a fever over the weekend and it is still going. Now Auggs has decided to join her. I’m currently spraying them and their room with Lysol while they nap and simultaneously popping zinc.
All the care taking and a lack of recovery from Peter being gone for SEVEN DAYS (more on his hunting trip later when I’ve recovered from my adventure in solo parenting) has left me with a little less zeal for Thanksgiving this year. It kind of feels like it’s snuck up on me. And I can’t summon the excitement I usually have for entertaining. However, the show must go on and as Peter pointed out, you can’t reinvent the wheel on Thanksgiving, which should make it easier to tackle. None the less, there’s still a very long list of things to get done before our 18 hungry guests arrive. Here’s what I’m doing to keep the urge to say screw it and open a bottle of wine for some day drinking:
1. Scale Back
We typically have dinner outside at the great table PW built for me a few years ago. But getting the patio, plants, table, table cloths, string lights, heaters, etc ready is a lot of extra work. So we decided to move inside. This might prove to be a terrible idea later, but it’s allowing me a lot less work on the front end so that’s a good thing. Prioritizing your to do list and or editing it is essential.
2. Create A Lot of Lists
I’m a list person any way, but the holidays call for many more lists and a lot more detail. I started a spreadsheet last year with tabs for each topic: guests, food, grocery list and a few recipes. That way I only have to amend each tab instead of redoing all the work. Keeping them each separate allows you to separate your thoughts and print each one individually.
I start a schedule about 2 weeks out based on how much work I need to do. I try to divide all the tasks so that I can do a few each day. This leaves a lot of room for last minute stuff and GASP! maybe even some down time. Starting ahead on cleaning votive holders, stemware, locating serving pieces, ironing napkins, etc is all essential to not loosing your mind the day before.
4. Ask For Help
Everything from some child care to bringing various dishes, ask for help. Most guests like to participate so let them bring their favorite dish. Just be sure to prioritize oven space and time for baking off vs reheating. Use crockpots for things like potatoes, sweet potatoes and green beans.
5. If You Can’t Ask, Buy Some Help
It’s often worth not only your sanity but your time to pay for some help. Yard maintenance, house keeping, professional laundering of linens, window washing and even store bought dinner are all great ways to make everything come together AND actually enjoy yourself!