set the scene

Emily and I have finally reached the final “chunk” of planning for her “grown up” Thanksgiving dinner.  Read more here and here.  Setting the scene.  I explained to her that this is part of the planning that will put you in a tizzy and take away from time spent braising the turkey and enjoying your guests.  My advice, do as much as you possibly can days in advance. 1.  GO WITH THE FLOW.  Determine where you are going to put people before during and after you eat.  Set up seating areas, move tables, lamps, décor to make your space more festive and more importantly for better flow.  Set up drink and hors d’oeuvre “stations” away from where you are working in the kitchen!   Have a pre-determined place for coats, bags and gear.  Emily and I came up with a great idea to set up a bench by her front entrance with a sign that reads coats and cell phones here.  (We love the idea of being tuned out for a few hours.)

Harvest setting
Harvest setting
entance
entance
fireplace
fireplace

2.  SET THE TABLE.  So what if you have to eat at the counter for a few meals.  Go ahead and set that beautiful table EARLY.  It will inspire you and there is nothing more inviting to your guests than entering to a table ready to gather around.

printable menus for Thanksgiving
printable menus for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Table
Thanksgiving Table

3.  PLATE IT UP.  When a meal as large as Thanksgiving comes together, chaos can ensue.   Cut down on the crazy by labeling trays, serving spoons, platters, pitchers and bowls for every dish.  You will thank me later.

Thanksgiving planning
Thanksgiving planning

When the big day arrives, all you will need to do is tie on that cute hostess apron, pour a nice drink and welcome your guests.   Oh, and relax.  Everything won’t be perfect, but it isn’t about the corn pudding not setting, it’s about the memory for years to come of how everyone laughed and enjoyed corn soup.