With the changing of the seasons our thoughts turn to the fast-approaching Thanksgiving holiday. Visions of bountiful meals fill our thoughts. The gathering of family and friends reminds us to reflect on those things we are most thankful for in our lives. Taking a few basic precautionary steps during this time of year will help to ensure that this Thanksgiving holiday will be joyous and fun for everyone. After all, it is a time to be remembered fondly, not filled with regret.
If possible try planning a few weeks ahead for the Thanksgiving holiday. The more guests that will be attending the more preparations you will need to make in order to ensure a happy and safe holiday celebration. Make the decision ahead of time regarding whether you will be preparing a fresh or frozen turkey. Refrigeration, thawing, handling, and proper preparation techniques will vary according to this decision.
Check for adequate storage space within refrigerators and on counter tops to avoid contamination when dealing with raw meats. Make sure to have the appropriate sized pan for the turkey size you have chosen. These precautions are necessary to eliminate contamination concerns and to remove much of the hassle that results from messy clean-ups.
The USDA and CDC recommend practicing specific Thanksgiving Day safety tips regarding proper preparation and cooking techniques to prevent the occurrence of food poisoning. Always designate a specific cutting board, utensils, and counter space for the raw turkey. Keep other food items away from this particular area to prevent contamination.
Don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly. When it comes to preventing food poisoning and contamination washing your hands and other objects that come into contact with raw food products for at least 20 seconds is a necessity. Wash down countertops whenever possible and clean up spills immediately to avoid unfortunate mishaps.
Be wary of any food allergies that your guests may suffer from and adjust your Thanksgiving Day menu accordingly. Avoiding an unnecessary trip to the emergency room is always a plus. Speak with your guests beforehand regarding food allergies to avoid having to make stressful last minute changes to your menu.
Child-Proofing Your Home
Work on child-proofing your home before the arrival of your guests. This will put everyone’s mind at ease and allow for a pleasant holiday experience. Consider designating one or two people to watch over the younger children during this time. Keep young children out of the kitchen when preparing and cooking your Thanksgiving Day meal to avoid unfortunate accidents and mishaps.
Prepare games and activities ahead of time and designate someone to take charge of the ‘entertaining’ so as to make the day go smoother. Holiday movies, the Thanksgiving Day parade, and football are popular events during the Thanksgiving holiday. Outdoor activities that involve some sort of exercise not only promote good health but aid in burning off that excess energy young children seem to have at the envy of all adults. The weather is often unpredictable during this time of the year so plan for both indoor and outdoor activities so as not to be caught off guard.
Be mindful of pets during the Thanksgiving holiday. Keep toxic foods, plants, and other items out of their reach. Table scraps have been known to cause serious digestive and gastrointestinal problems in pets. Provide pet safe treats for your guests to feed to your pets and be wary of your pet’s behavior. Provide them with a safe haven where they can retreat if the excitement of it all becomes too much for them to handle. Do not abandon or neglect them but include them in your holiday festivities when it is appropriate.
Always keep an emergency kit properly stocked and accessible. Keep electrical cords, open flame candles, and decorations out of reach of children and pets. A wonderful alternative are flameless candles that can set the same mood but in a safer environment. Electrical sockets not in use should be properly covered to prevent curious fingers from receiving an electrifying shock.
A few simple precautions and some careful planning will ensure that this Thanksgiving holiday will be an enjoyable experience for all. Remember to take a deep breath, step back, and enjoy the occasion with each free moment that you have. Wishing you and yours a very safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday!