I have this dream of hosting family dinner and it looks like a scene from a movie. The table is set perfectly with lovely place holders, crisp white table clothes and beautiful centerpieces. The food is served out of sterling silver and everything is cooked to perfection. Then after dinner, everyone moves into the family room where miraculously there is enough seating for everyone. We watch football, but don’t really pay attention and spend the rest of the evening telling stories and catching up.
But that’s not reality, that’s just a dream. So let’s talk about a real Thanksgiving dinner looks like. Kids running around making memories, everyone showing up at different times because people have to work, the tables are usually a mix of folded card tables, kitchen tables with chairs, bar stools and piano benches laid out everywhere. There are no centerpieces because no one has time between raising a family, working until the last minute and having to cook a few dishes to bring. The biggest concern is making sure you don’t forget anything you were supposed to cook…. well at least that’s my biggest worry considering I did forget to bring a dish I said I would one year… oops!
Why do we have these picture-perfect standards that only cause our stress levels to go up? Why do we do this to ourselves?! Well this year, I say enough is enough! This year I’m forgetting about the image you see in a movie and am embracing my reality. A reality filled with chaos, laughter and very loud voices.
Hosting a family dinner or even friends for Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t have to be this stress-induced moment. All you need is a plan to get your house in order and a time table to make sure the food is done on time. In this post, we’re going to talk about making sure your house is presentable to the outside world (especially if you have little ones running around) and it not cost you hours of cleaning to get there.
One Week Before Thanksgiving
Clean and organize guest rooms if you have anyone staying the weekend with you. Change sheets on the bed, vacuum the carpet and dust the furniture.
Childproof your home if you have any small children coming. If you don’t have time to childproof everything or don’t want the inconvenience at least try to place outlet caps in the electrical outlets. It makes life so much easier for toddler-aged parents when they are fascinated by everything they shouldn’t touch.
Clear away any clutter. Go through the main rooms in your house and put away any paper clutter, miscellaneous items, and things taking up space.
Wipe down the bottom of the inside of your fridge and clean your microwave.
Make a game plan for when you need to cook each dish you’re providing. Some dishes can be started 2-3 days before Thanksgiving. Try to get done what you can so you aren’t spending all day before dinner int he kitchen.
Three Days Before Thanksgiving
Sweep the kitchen and vacuum rooms where guests will be.
Mop the kitchen and bathroom floors.
Dust the house. Make sure to take care of the main rooms in your house.
Buy any last minute foods or fresh produce.
Day Before Thanksgiving
Clean your bathrooms – this is probably the most important room to clean before guests arrive (besides your kitchen). Hide any bath toys, clean the toilet and sink area. Make sure your toilet paper is stocked and wipe down the mirror. I like to hide everything on the bathroom counters, too. That way your toothbrushes aren’t in the way and the only thing visible is soap and a hand towel.
Run the dishwasher and put away any clean dishes. Now you’re sink will be empty and your dishwasher will be ready for all those dirty dishes.
Add a box of baking soda to your fridge to help reduce any odors.
Setup any extra tables and chairs that will be needed for dinner.
Morning Of Thanksgiving
Light candles in your bathrooms.
Wipe down kitchen counters.
Make sure to adjust your thermostat before everyone arrives.
Don’t stress over the last minute details. Make sure to enjoy your day.