November 23, 2016 by mamacravings
We are not going home this Thanksgiving. I am 35 weeks pregnant, and it’s just not feasible for me to travel. While I am sad to miss out on our typical family event, I am excited about the prospect of being able to host Thanksgiving for the first time. We even get to have our own guests, which is making me feel like a real grown-up. There will be 7 of us total gathered around the table. Our Thanksgiving will be small and intimate and hopefully one to remember (with pleasant, calm, non-burning the food memories).
With my first time as hostess and being 35 weeks pregnant, I have been a bit apprehensive. My go-to response to being overwhelmed is to plan (color-coding is bonus.), so I mapped out what will hopefully ease the stress of the day and the time on my feet.
Below are 5 tips that I will be practicing on Thanksgiving Day as I act as hostess for first time:
1. Keep the menu simple and classic.
In the last several months, I have really dove into more cooking from scratch and less cooking from pre-prepared items. It’s been a slow evolution, but I am really enjoying the learning process and the yummy (mostly) results.
It is very tempting for me to want to make everything on the menu from scratch and to show off my new found skills. But here is the reality: I am officially in the shape of round at this point in my pregnancy. My feet look like stuffed sausages. I am tired. Instead of putting the pressure on myself for making an all homemade Thanksgiving meal, we are going semi-homemade.
The items that are easy to do from scratch will be, such as mashed potatoes. The items that are simple to convert to hybrids, will be semi-homemade (for example, green bean casserole). And the items that my husband insists are better when slid out of a plastic bag, I have nearly-begrudgingly compromised on being store-bought, such as dinner rolls.
While we will be the void of homemade bread for our Thanksgiving lunch, it will save me a lot of time and energy to let some things just go. That’s difficult for me. However, the priority is to gather around a table with loved ones. And I will be chanting that mantra when pulling apart pre-packaged dinner rolls.
2. Buy the turkey.
Talk about a time saver! Buying a prepared turkey, through companies Greenberg, will save a ton of time and valuable oven space. Since the theme of this Thanksgiving is streamlining, it made sense that we outsourced the turkey prep. It also takes away that stress of: What if I mess up these people’s turkey? I certainly don’t want that pressure on my shoulders for my first time to host.
3. Prep as much as possible ahead of time.
The question I am constantly asking myself as Thanksgiving is speeding closer and closer is: What can I do the day before or even 2 days before? Day old cornbread makes for some good dressing. Chopping veggies can be done from my favorite stool while catching up on some Netflix. Pies and cakes can be made and stored happily away ahead of time as well.
To ease the stress and time on my feet of that big day, it’s imperative to spread out that to-do list over a course of multiple days. I certainly don’t want to spend actual Thanksgiving in a flurry of being overwhelmed.
4. Make it a potluck.
We are very blessed to be able to have a few family members join us for Thanksgiving. We are also thankful that they will be bringing a couple of their favorite sides and a dessert.
Our visitors suggested that they bring items traditional to their own traditions. I love the idea of honoring other families’ traditions and merging them with our own. Treating the holiday as a potluck opens us up to new experiences. We will have dishes that I have never been served at Thanksgiving, but they may very well become staples in our own feasts.
5. Accept help when asked.
This is personally the most difficult step for me. I am queen of “No, thank you.” when someone asks if he/she can help. That being said, this isn’t a one-woman show. Family is gathering to express gratitude and to be a part of a treasured tradition. So, let them be a part of it. The dishes may not end up in the “right” cabinet, and the gravy might not be made exactly how you do it. However, when you are gathered in that kitchen together, you are making memories. To me, that’s what Thanksgiving is about: remembering to be thankful for blessings you have and making memories of new blessings.
Have a family-filled, delicious Thanksgiving.
Have you been the host/hostess for Thanksgiving? What are your best tips for newbies?