Are you entertaining this Thanksgiving? Are feeling the anxiety of the season creeping up on you yet? I am. I need a nap, being completely exhausted just thinking about my To Do list. So, in looking to simplify my life, I’m on the lookout for clever shortcuts. Thought you’d appreciate some of these ideas and tips I found in my search for simplifying the entertaining process:
- Have a good planning checklist: Friends have made fun of me for years because of my lists. Called me the List Girl. They also call me organized. So there. This year, I didn’t have time to think of all the intricacies of the Thanksgiving Dinner on my own, so I’m using a composite of these lists that I found online on the Food Channel and on Family Fun. Pretty complete. Why reinvent the wheel…
- Cleaning house: If you’re lucky, you’ll have a cleaning lady drop by, just in time. If not, here’s a list of the essential spots to be tidied and cleaned before the guests arrived. You may want to add flowers; they make everything look fresh and cleaner. Here’s a good time to recruit the older kids and put them to work.
- Super easy centerpiece: This gives me the biggest headache because I don’t have the time (nor the budget) to execute the vision for the centerpiece I really want. But, this year I came across this clever little tool: a candle carver. It allows to cut a round hole in a fruit or vegetable in which a tealight can be placed. I’m thinking either fall apples or mini pumpkins and squash will serve as candleholders or place settings this year, around a simple arrangement of larger sized squash, fall leaves and flowers…
- Have a secret ingredient: I’m thinking something like preserved lemons or this Universal Sauce… Something that gets your guests wondering why everything is so… succulent. The Universal Sauc is a ready-made versatile sauce base that can be used in soups, casseroles, pasta sauces and so much more. It’s a no-fail solutions as it never separates, lumps or curdles. Cuts steps and saucy mistakes. Buy online at Shirley J.
- Don’t make it from scratch: I always say that I will only move somewhere if there is a Trader Joe’s nearby. Trader Joe’s is all about shortcuts. Delicious, quality shortcuts where everything from the cornbread stuffing mix to the frozen pie dough, to the prepared frozen hors-d’œuvres, the cranberry sauce… I get most of my wine there too.
- Buy the dessert: Certainly there is a delightful bakery in your neighborhood? Encourage a small business and save yourself hours of work. Baking is so exacting. Who has time for it on Thanksgiving? Let it go. Buy it!
- Chic yet disposable – in a green way: What? You don’t have time to polish the silver and wash the crystal before you set the table. Anyhoo, that was soooooo 1955. Ok, so it’s not as fancy, but you can still have plenty of style with your compostable or recyclable “china”, “crystal” and “linens”:
1. Bamboo Studio dinnerware: Bamboo is a favorite renewable resource, so if you absolutely can’t wash, this is the route to go, knowing you don’t have to sacrifice all self-respect by using paper or plastic plates. See the choices at BambooStudio.com.
2. MYdrap cotton napkins and placemats are perforated on a roll for easy tear-off convenience. They were originally developed for the hospitality market as chic yet disposable textiles. Made of 100% cotton fibers, MYdrap textiles are biodegradable, compostable and recyclable. Washable too if you want to reuse them. AND, they come in 20 colors and five sizes. Sweetest no-fuss. Buy them online at MYDrap or see the store locator.
3. GoVino glasses: these shatterproof glasses are reusable and recyclable. Wash them or toss them (in the recycling bin). They look and perform like crystal and are BPA-free. Plus they look très chic too. Buy at GoVino.com or on Amazon.
- And, of course, DELEGATE! Go potluck and ask everyone to bring a dish or at least, to contribute to some part of the preparation.
Happy Thanksgiving. Here’s to wishing that you can find some time to find and celebrate the real meaning of this holiday: to enjoy your loved ones and friends, in gratitude. Cheers!