Thanksgiving offers an opportunity for celebrating with friends and family. Will it be a traditional family gathering this year, or a festive friends-giving? Either way, preparing for the holiday and house guests ahead of time is a must for a truly peaceful celebration, allowing you to savor the flavors and special moments of the holiday.
Decluttering and Organizing
Since the Kitchen is center stage for this festive holiday, it’s important to start with a well-organized space and identify any troublesome areas that may put a damper on your celebration. For some this starts with the counter space and pantry, while for others it starts with the refrigerator.
In addition to decorations, there are typically treats and deserts on display, along with extra groceries, so making room by packing up small appliances that you don’t use everyday and storing in the garage will free up space and prevent your kitchen counter from looking cluttered during the holiday.
Incorporate storage into your decorations by utilizing tiered shelves or bins to store extra groceries such as potatoes, onions, apples and nuts among other items. You can spruce these up with decorations to create a warm, cheerful space. You can also use a wicker basket to corral and display platters, trays, utensils and other serving dishes so they’re handy when the feast preparations begin.
The Pantry Blues
Although tackling the pantry to make more room may seem overwhelming, it can also bring a sense of accomplishment once it’s organized and ready to receive bulk foods for the holiday and it’s a great way to bring the family together as well. Get the kids involved by having them help sort boxed and canned goods you haven’t used and can easily replace and prepare a bag for donating to a local foodbank.
It’s also a great time to check the expiration dates and stock of backing ingredients so you don’t discover you’re missing pumpkin spice or vanilla while in the midst of creating your holiday dishes.
Getting ready for the cooking and baking by preparing a detailed shopping list is a must. Let the professionals help with suggestions on the best way to organize. Check out these tips.
With lots of family and friends visiting for the holiday, there are a lot of ‘volunteers’ asking what they can do to help. Making a few simple preparations can make saying yes actually helpful vs. frustrating. For example, having the linens and serving dishes set out ahead of time makes it easy for your ‘helpers’ to know what you need without having to ask a million questions. Another useful tip is to place notes inside the serving dishes of what goes where so helpers can easily transfer food from pots and pans to the appropriate serving dishes.
After the Feast
Thanksgiving is perhaps the largest meal of the year and for most there a lots of leftovers, leaving you with the dilemma of what to keep and for how long, as well as how to safely send leftovers with friends and family that may be traveling back home at the end of the long holiday. There are a lot of sites with helpful tips for safely preparing and storing holiday foods, such as FoodSafety.gov with detailed guidelines by events and seasons which you can check out here.
You’ll find useful information such as guidelines for refrigerating your leftovers, which should be consumed within 3 to 4 days max unless you freeze them. They recommend packing up your feast within two hours and there are also helpful hints like storing bulky foods (mashed potatoes and stuffing) in shallow pans to decrease cooling time and make reheating evenly a breeze. When freezing leftovers, these should be consumed within 2 to 6 months for the best quality.
For those traveling any distance home with leftover goodies, make sure to pack food in airtight containers and use freezer packs or cooling bags where necessary.
We hope you found some useful tips to help make this holiday season more relaxing and enjoyable. From our Storage Family to yours, we wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving