Monday, November 21, 2011

More eating, less stress!

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, it seems appropriate to discuss how you can alleviate some of your holiday stress by organizing your meal preparations. Easy solution? Go out. Just kidding. A holiday at home can be low stress and even enjoyable.

If you are reading this on Monday you have three days to go. If you haven’t shopped yet, make a list. The first list should be what you plan on serving. Based on that list, create a shopping list with all the ingredients needed. If you have a lot of guests coming, be sure and invite them to bring a dish to share. This cuts down on the work for you and makes it a meal in the true spirit of Thanksgiving. If you can, hit the grocery store early in the morning or late at night. It will be crowded this week, but if you go during off hours, you can avoid much of the crowd.

Figure out what can be made ahead of time. Things like stuffing, pies, and casseroles can usually be made at least a day ahead of time. Get it done early so you have less to do on Thursday. Personally, I think that giving things like stuffing a day to sit makes it taste better too since all the flavors have time to really combine.

Another thing you can do the night before is set the table. If you have kids, put them in charge of either the center piece or the name cards. The kids will enjoy being part of the decorating and it will be one less thing for you to do.

Make sure you know how long your turkey needs to defrost. Usually they need at least a few days in the refrigerator prior to cooking. If you forget, remember you can always soak it in cold water to expedite the defrosting process. There are lots of great websites that will walk you through this process if you aren’t familiar.

Take a minute to plan your cooking schedule. Unless you have a professional kitchen, you probably only have one oven. Plan ahead to determine when things need to go in the oven so everything can be ready around the same time. Consider alternative ways of cooking the turkey like smoking, barbequing or frying (although I don’t recommend this method due to fires and clogged arteries…).

Finally, charge your camera and video camera batteries. Make sure they are ready to capture wonderful holiday memories.

Happy Thanksgiving and I pray that your holiday is full of love, relaxation and happy memories.

Meagan Farrell, professional organizer, is the owner of Clear the Clutter organizing services. She can be reached at (360) 631-7268 or at Check out her blog at

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