It’s that time of year again-That time of the year when the days are shorter and the to-do lists double their regular size. Every year I swear I’m not going to host Thanksgiving but in the end, I do it because deep down, I love to host. If this sounds familiar to you and you are hosting Thanksgiving this year and just don’t know where to start then you are in the right place. There’s no easy way around it, preparing a Thanksgiving feast is time-consuming and quite overwhelming.
In this post, I’m going to be sharing how you can create a simple Thanksgiving menu and shopping system that will help you from feeling too overwhelmed. I’m going to be sharing the steps I take each year to create my menu and put together my shopping list so I am able to stay organized and get through the grocery stores (yes I shop and more than one to get my Thanksgiving shopping done) without feeling too overwhelmed. And most importantly, without forgetting items at the store.
Each year we create a giant feast for our friends and family. We prepare this meal that can literally feed a small (and large in some cases) army. With the appetizers, turkey, all of the side dishes, and yummy desserts it’s no wonder that you can feel overwhelmed right from the start.
If you are hosting Thanksgiving this year, let’s make it less stressful by downloading the free Host A Stress-Free Thanksgiving Workbook to help you out.
Create your menu and remember – less is more.
The first thing that needs to be done is menu planning. Like I said earlier, we are preparing a feast. This meal is so big that we can’t possibly eat everything we prepare.
Yes, I know we look forward to our Thanksgiving coma after that amazing meal but cutting the menu down to only having 3 sides will help make things less overwhelming.
Take a look at your current menu. Are you doing appetizers? Are they necessary? You know that you’ve already got the main course planned (the turkey of course). Then take a look at all of the side. Maybe you have mashed potatoes, rolls, and a green vegetable.
Just try to make this as easy on yourself as you possibly can.
Organize the entire menu – appetizers, sides, main dish, desserts.
Once you have your complete menu planned out it is time to organize this menu so you can create a shopping list (which we’ll go over a little later). Grab a piece of paper and draw 5 boxes on that page.
Label each box:
- Main dish
Inside each box write down what you plan on serving for that section. By doing this you will not be forgetting anything. I like to be as detailed as possible.
Go through place settings, tables, chair, etc.
There is nothing worse than not having enough chairs, silverware, or serving pieces. After you know how many people are coming it is important to take a look at your places settings, table, chair, and so on to make sure you have enough for everyone.
Now is the perfect time to add things to your shopping list or ask friends and family to bring things over to help you out.
Create a master shopping list- organize the shopping list into perishable and non-perishable.
Now is time to create the master shopping list. What I like to do is create a list of everything that I’ll need for the big day. Then I separate that list into perishable and non-perishable.
This will help you know what things you can buy early and store for Thanksgiving.
If you find something on sale early you can simply cross it off your list so you don’t have to worry about it later.
Shop all of the ads.
Thanksgiving is expensive. It is a huge meal for a big group and everything that needs to be purchased adds up. I like to shop all of the ads.
Sure, we all have our “go-to” store on our regular shopping trip but some stores may have an awesome deal on a few items.
If the savings are enough it might be worth it to go to a few different stores to save a few dollars.
Create a detailed shopping plan-which stores, get store maps if you’re unfamiliar with the store.
Now it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty of the shopping list. This is going to be your detailed shopping plan.
Which stores and what you’re buying at each store. Keep in mind, you may have a few lists. And that is okay. This will keep you organized.
So, once you’ve checked out all of the ads and you know what you need to buy it’s time to create a shopping list for each store.
For an added time saver I like to take a look at the store maps and create a list that is in order as I’ll see it in the store. There’s nothing worse than heading into a store that you’re not familiar with trying to buy 3-5 items and it takes you 35-40 minutes just to find them.
If you’re not familiar with the store head to that store’s website and take a look at the map. You’ll be able to mark where it’s at in the store to help you save time.
Create a shopping game plan-when what needs to be purchased.
Okay, you’re just about ready to do this. It is now time to make your game plan. This is going to be your shopping day plan.
Will you be taking 1 trip? Will you be taking multiple trips?
You’ll want to schedule your trips and create your shopping route. Since we typically shop at more than one store for Thanksgiving dinner it’s a good idea to create an efficient route that will help save you time. One of the easiest ways of doing that is creating a loop with your route.
Find room to store items
This can sometimes be forgotten. You’ll be storing a big ol’ turkey in the fridge and you’ll be adding a lot of ingredients into the house that you’re not used to stocking.
You may need to clean out the fridge and designate an area of the house as “Thanksgiving Dinner Storage Area” so it’s not cluttering up your kitchen.
Okay, so in this post, I shared the steps I take to create my Thanksgiving menu and shopping system. By creating a detailed plan, shopping the ads, and organizing your list so you know when and where you need to purchase ingredients you too can be a little less overwhelmed the Thanksgiving holiday.
For a little added extra organization you can download the free Hosting A Stress-Free Thanksgiving Workbook below.