How to Prep Your Kitchen for a Thanksgiving Feast

Family in kitchen gathered around Thanksgiving turkey. Photo courtesy of GettyImages/HeroImages.

The holidays can be super stressful - our Thanksgiving survival guide can help.

You’re in a brand new home and so excited to host your friends and family for Thanksgiving. This time of year can be hectic, but some small things can make a big difference in making your guests feel relaxed and cozy in your new home.

Here are easy ways to make sure your kitchen and dining spaces are ready for the holiday festivities:

Appliances

As you’re planning the big meal, take inventory of your appliances. Did you get rid of any old gadgets in the move that you now need to replace? Get that new immersion blender in time for making pumpkin soup. Holidays are the perfect time to splurge on a new fancy coffee maker or replace your old mixer.

Serving Dishes

Now is the time to figure out where the good china and serving dishes are packed away. Think about table linens and count flatware to make sure you have enough. To keep costs down and keep it fun, buy funky glassware, serving dishes and napkins at a vintage or charity shop.

Decorations


Janet Lorusso, owner of JRL Interiors in the greater Boston area, reminds us that while centerpieces are lovely, they can take up precious space at the dining table. Mini pumpkins at each place setting or fall-inspired place cards add flair without adding clutter, says Lorusso. Give the bathrooms some extra love with scented candles and pine cones.

Pre-Prep

To save your sanity on the big day, prepare what you can ahead of time. For example, pre-cut and refrigerate veggies to use in recipes later. Make pies a day early. If you’re serving snacks to keep people busy and happy until dinner is served, go for low-stress bites like nuts and olives, as they’re easy and not overly filling.

Start Clean

If you’ve just moved in, keep things looking clean and streamlined by not unpacking everything right away. There will be plenty of time to enjoy your keepsakes and kids’ trophies - but for now they’re just one less thing you have to clean around.

This handy tip comes from Allen Michael at HomeViable.com, "On Thanksgiving Day, try to have the dishwasher empty and ready to go before guests show up. If you can rinse the first round and throw them in the machine, it will keep things from piling up so quickly. The same goes for the trash cans.

Furniture


When you’re in a new space, it’s a good time to think about your entertaining set-up. Do you need an extra table in the dining room, or maybe a table in the kitchen as temporary counter space? You can buy, rent, or borrow everything you need - as long as you plan ahead.

Keep it Safe

Candess Mendola, a food and water safety advocate and the Editor of MakeFoodSafe.com, stresses the importance of using a meat thermometer when you are making holiday hams and turkeys. A meat thermometer helps ensure that you are cooking your meats to their correct cooking temperatures to kill off harmful bacteria like E. coli, Salmonella, and Campylobacter. Mendola says, “There is one thing you never want to send your guests home with and that’s food poisoning.”

Share the Work


Ask someone to bring a side dish or wine, or help rustle up some extra chairs. It takes a village, after all, and the longer you can avoid re-cluttering your spic and span new home, the better.

 

Don’t forget to have fun this year!

Rebecca Rosenberg is an international digital media consultant and freelance writer.

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