If you’re looking to make things a little easier this Thanksgiving and money is not an object, then there are a few ways to simplify your Thanksgiving holiday meal if you are pressed for time.
Catered Meals – Several restaurants offer this service. You would first need a head count. Once you provide that information to the restaurant/caterer then, you can work on the menu and the cost. Remember to have them delivery the meal on time or pick up the meal on time. Be sure to place your order early. (HoneyBaked Ham Company is our families’ first choice.)
Grocery Store Meals – Some stores also fix holiday meals for a set price. (Examples: Safeway & Giant) We did this one-year for an office party and found that this had one major draw back. When we picked up the meals, we found that they need to be heated before serving. Allow at least two hours to heat thoroughly before serving, depending on what you purchase. While you will still be heating the kitchen up, you will not spend your whole day there. This allows you & your guests a warm and delicious meal without all of the work. To make clean up easier, use as many aluminum pans for warming as you possibly can.
Dine Out – Gather the family together at a local restaurant. Several restaurants will be open to diners using this option. While it wasn’t the Thanksgiving holiday, our family met at a Chinese restaurant one Christmas evening. Be sure to call ahead to see if the restaurant of your choice will be open and inquire to see if they are accepting reservations. Go ahead and make the reservations as soon as possible as many families now dine out for Thanksgiving. This also takes care of wondering if your house is “clean” enough for company.
If money is tight and you’re still looking for ways to lighten your load during Thanksgiving, there are other options available. Cheap and easy does not make the holiday less memorable.
Pot Luck – Once it has been decided upon on where to host your families’ Thanksgiving meal, you can split the meal up so that one person is not responsible for everything. One person can do the meats, two or three people can do the side dishes, someone can bring the desserts, and someone else can bring the drinks. This helps spread the costs and makes everyone feel like they have contributed to the meal.
Hosting the Meal Yourself – If you’re still convinced that you would like to do it all yourself then just simplify the menu. Focus on the family “must haves” and even try one new dish. Don’t try to many new dishes at once because you are trying to make it easier on yourself. Set the table in advance. Do as much prep work as possible the night before.
Most of all simply take a few minutes and be thankful for all those that are able to share the holiday with you. Take time to enjoy yourself and those around you and do not stress if things are not perfect. The memories you create with your loved ones will stand out more than anything you can sit/serve on/at your Thanksgiving table.