Even though we’ve been getting ready for Thanksgiving here at HGTV headquarters since the middle of summer (putting together those classy Thanksgiving centerpieces and testing out holiday cocktails takes up a lot of time, folks), the holiday has still managed to sneak up on us.
If you haven’t gotten your grocery list together yet, you better hurry; there’s nothing more frustrating than a last-minute hunt through a ransacked supermarket. Overwhelmed? Still scrambling for ideas? We’ve got you covered.
Create a budget. The holidays quickly can turn even the most frugal person into a spendthrift. Save yourself buyer’s remorse and set aside how much money you’re willing to spend on festivities.
Get organized. You’ll need two shopping lists: one for your Thanksgiving menu and one for other essentials, like extra utensils or craft supplies to keep the kids occupied. When creating your menu, keep in mind how many guests you’ll be serving and who you’ll be serving; find out if you have any friends or family members attending who are vegetarians or who have food allergies so no one gets left hungry. If you’re serving cocktails, poll your guests on what types of drinks they’d like – no sense in wasting time mixing cocktails if everyone would rather just sip wine!
Clean your refrigerator. And your pantry, too. In fact, if you have the time, doing a full sweep of your dining room, living room, guest rooms, and anywhere else you think will be filled with guests will help you see what you need before you get to the store. Cleaning your fridge and pantry is a great way to make sure you don’t buy groceries you already have, plus you’ll need a lot of room for that huge turkey!
Go to the store (but don’t buy anything…yet). With so much to prepare for, it’s easy to forget simple things you need, leaving you (and your guests) in despair when it’s Thanksgiving Day and you run out of milk. Take your lists and spend an hour browsing the aisles. It will help you spot things you may have forgotten on your list. If you already have your menu down, the walk will give you the opportunity to see where everything you need is located before you actually start shopping. Still not sure what you’re serving? Wandering the grocery store will give you recipe ideas.
Buy your groceries early. It takes at least 3 days to thaw a frozen turkey. Waiting until the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to shop will only add unnecessary stress to an already busy holiday. If you just don’t have the time to do all your shopping at once, break up the trips.
Cook dishes ahead of time. If you’re not using a roaster or frying your turkey, there’s not going to be much more room in your oven for sides and desserts. Cook some dishes in advance, or have sides like stuffing or baked macaroni and cheese prepped and ready to quickly pop into the oven once the turkey comes out.
What are you making for Thanksgiving dinner? Share your menu with us in the comments below and visit these links for tasty recipe ideas:
Savory Main Dishes & Sides
Tips on Cooking Your Holiday Bird
Mashed Potatoes 3 Ways
Southern Fried Stuffing Balls
Fried Apple Pies
Perfect Pumpkin Pie
13 Irresistible Fall Desserts
12 Cold Weather Cocktails
10 Mocktail Recipes