For anyone who has hosted Thanksgiving dinner at his or her home before, it can be a stressful undertaking.  Whether you’re hosting it at your home in Florida or at your northern residence, expectations are high. The food has to be great, the table should look beautiful and you still have to find time to entertain your guests. Well don’t fret! Here are some steps to help you work out the details of both your meal, and the holiday table. The only thing this won’t do is stop giving you nightmares about forgetting to defrost the turkey in time.

Make a Plan

  • Something that has always worked for me is finalizing the menu well in advance. That way you know what you’re going to be serving.
  • If you want to try new recipes, perhaps only do one or two. Have a dry run of the new recipes before the day to reduce any surprises and to see if the recipe is going to be a good match.
  • Another great idea is creating a timetable of the things that need to be done on Thanksgiving Day. I’ve been at gatherings before where the host doesn’t really know when dinner will be served. Hours go by and guests start to get grumpy. So for starters, determine what time you want to sit down to eat and work from there.
  • Identify what needs to be done and at what time.
  • Prepare your grocery list ahead of time. There’s nothing like getting home after grocery shopping and realizing you forgot a key ingredient for the meal. Instead of having to call someone last minute and asking “can you pick up a few more sweet potatoes on the way over?” make sure you go through your recipes and write everything down. And above all, don’t forget the turkey!

Arrange Your Table

An attractive table requires giving a little forethought to individual place settings, serving pieces, and flower arrangements. I typically like going online or even on Pinterest to get some ideas on how to arrange my Thanksgiving table. I’ve gathered some quick links that may provide some inspiration.

Day of: Don’t Stress

  • Try cooking in advance of the big day. Start preparing desserts and side dishes a few days before Thanksgiving if you can. This will help you space out the holiday cooking and keep you from getting worn out.
  • Assign people tasks – have someone in charge of drinks, another for taking the food to the table, someone for cleaning up, etc. Remember, you should enjoy this day too.

Give Thanks and Dig In!

After all the planning, prepping, and stressing, this day is about giving thanks and being with family and friends. So raise your glass, give a toast, enjoy yourself amongst your guests – and enjoy the feast you just created!

Now, for those of you who prefer dining out on Thanksgiving, The Colony Golf & Country Club hosts a Thanksgiving buffet that is sure to make your mouth water. Arrive hungry, leave satiated. From 1-4 p.m. you are your family will enjoy a variety of delicious food from golden roasted turkey with traditional cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes to oven-seared tenderloin of beef and cavatelli pasta Provencal. Best of all you don’t have to clean up after the feast! For reservations call 239-390-4702.

Have any other entertaining ideas you’d like to share? Leave your comments.

I wish all of you as well as my Colony friends a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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