Thanksgiving Prep: Your Guide to a Frustration-Free Holiday

If the holidays are a source of stress for you, you are not alone. But with these tips, this year will be easy as pie.

Keeping House
Preparing for the Thanksgiving meal.


  1. To start off your Thanksgiving prep, do all your grocery shopping at least a week in advance. Keep the non-perishables in the bag for an easy find later. And double-check your recipes to be sure you have everything you need. That way you're not frantically sending someone to the store on Thanksgiving Day.
  2. Ask family members to bring sides and desserts. Usually someone will offer, but planning out the meal is a lot easier when you know who can bring sides and who can bring pies. Beverages are even a suitable contribution, and the most often-forgotten menu item.
  3. Do some pre–Thanksgiving Day cooking. If you do get stuck with most of the heavy lifting, try to cook as much stuff in the days before as your fridge space will allow. Cranberry sauce is an easy one. And if you bake dinner rolls and let them cool, stick them in the freezer and they'll be good to reheat on Thanksgiving Day. Same goes for pies and other desserts. You can even chop up all your veggies for stuffing and sides, put them in individual baggies, and store them in the fridge so they're ready to go.
  4. Go in with a strategy. There really is an art to cooking all that food and having it ready and still warm simultaneously. Make sure you plan your dishes according to how much stovetop and oven space you have. Tape up the recipes where you can easily see them and prioritize by cook time.
  5. Set the table the day before. Or prep the serving area if your family does buffet style. This is an easy one, but it will save some time the day of when you're running around the kitchen. Better yet—make your kids or spouse do the honors.
  6. You cooked, they clean. After all that Thanksgiving Prep, now that everyone is stuffed, grab a heaping slice of pie, relax, and let everyone else do the dirty work. Happy Thanksgiving!


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