The bells are ringing, holiday music is on the radio, and the Salvation Army Santas have posted outside grocery stores around the Lowcountry which can only mean one thing: the holiday season has begun! If you're like most Charlestonians, you have a variety of family members, near and far, traveling to your home for the annual Thanksgiving meal. In the midst of grocery shopping, meal planning, and house cleaning, it's hard to see how this one event could be less stressful. Sometimes it simply starts with the pressure that comes with properly cooking a turkey. It's no surprise that the Butterball Turkey phone bank still gets nearly 100,000 calls a year during the holiday season! Here are some top tips for creating a holiday gathering that delivers big on southern hospitality and allows you some relaxation along the way.
Create a Plan
As Santa Clause says, make a list and check it twice! Sit down and create a plan for your Thanksgiving dinner. Include a guest list of those invited, plan what's on the menu for this year's feast, and calculate what you may need to stock the bar. The secrete to a stress free meal is planning ahead so everything doesn't demand your attention all at once.
Plan a Potluck
With such a huge undertaking like a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings, there's no need to be a chef of one! Ask attendees to share their own dish, whether that be a family favorite, or grandma's secret peanut butter pie, a potluck style Thanksgiving is a great way to share the load. With a little planning and organization, think "shared spreadsheet," you can avoid 15 green bean casseroles at your dinner table.
Take advantage of deals at grocery stores by shopping for certain items early, as opposed to shopping all at once the week of Thanksgiving. Even better, take advantage of grocery curbside pick-up or delivery to avoid the grocery store madness all together! Once you have your final list, simply add click to add to your cart, and relax!
Prep in Advance
There's plenty of side dishes and desserts that can be made one to two days prior to Thanksgiving. If your refrigerator can accommodate pre-made meals, go ahead and make dishes that can be warmed in the oven on Thanksgiving. Oftentimes the space limitations of where you have to prepare and cook a turkey and all the sides makes preparing some things ahead a necessity. You definitely don't want to find out on Thanksgiving day that your turkey is too big for the oven! If you truly enjoy prepping in advance, some dishes can even be frozen and then cooked the day of!
We love any reason to formally set a table for a fine dining experience, but serving buffet style can save on space and cleanup time. You can still set your table with beautiful decor and guests can easily help themselves to extra portions, all without overloading the dinner table or worrying about who sits where.
And remember, Thanksgiving is supposed to be a day of family, relaxation, and reflection. So don't let that one burnt dish ruin your family's annual football game or post-meal rituals. Pat yourself on the back for your hard work and enjoy watching the Macy's Day Parade or an afternoon of football.
This year, we are more thankful than ever for the blessings we've shared here at Luxury Simplified and Luxury Simplified Retreats. While we feel lucky to celebrate Thanksgiving here in Charleston SC, we know families will travel near and far to gather together during the holiday. We wish you safe travels and a Happy Thanksgiving, from our family to yours!
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