It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is almost here. Harder still: the concept of having to host the holiday at your own home. Even if you love opening your home to friends and family, hosting on turkey day can induce stress in even the most experienced home entertainers. To help out, we’ve collected some tricks that make cooking faster, clean up easier, and the whole event less expensive. Bonus: You won’t lose your sanity and snap at a guest (at least not more than once).
1. Stop grocery shopping now
One typical source of holiday stress is lack of space—you need room in your cupboards, fridge, and freezer to accommodate all the ingredients and finished dishes that will soon be filling them.
“Start clearing out the cupboards two weeks before you do your Thanksgiving shopping,” says Beth Hirsch, an instructor at The Cooking Coach 101. Bonus: By eating up your pantry items instead of shopping, you’ll save money to splurge on holiday gifts, or yourself!
2. Go full rental
For a little bit of money, a party rental company can make your holiday a lot easier.
“Even if your dining table is large enough to host a party of 12 or more, the dining chairs may be so wide that it limits how many can pull up to the table,” says Rebecca West, design psychologist and blogger of Happy Starts at Home. “Consider stashing the big upholstered chairs in the garage and renting folding chairs.”
Other things to consider renting: extra glasses, flatware, linens—that way you can laugh off the inevitable red wine and cranberry sauce stains—and a coat rack to keep outerwear from forming an unruly Everest in the guest room.
Dressing up a table with fresh flowers gets pricey fast. Instead, buy fewer flowers and break them up into mini arrangements in mirrored bud vases (Wholesale Flowers and Supplies offers an assortment).
“Mirrored vases reflect candlelight and the beauty of the table,” says Bronwen Smith, owner of B Floral. Another idea for affordable table decor: “Spray-paint small pumpkins gold to jazz up your Thanksgiving tablescape.”
4. Fast-track your food
Instead of cooking the turkey for six semi-traumatic hours—worrying all the while that it’s drying out or cooking unevenly—try spatchcocking the bird. This involves cutting the backbone out of the turkey and laying the bird flat, so that all the skin is face up. Click to read more from the Whit Harvey Group.
By Celeste Perron for Realtor.com