15 Ways to Make Thanksgiving Easier
Organize Your Home
Concentrate on cleaning and decluttering a few key areas: the kitchen, bathrooms, and living and dining rooms. If you have time, give bedrooms and the home office speedy spruce-ups—otherwise, keep them behind closed doors.
Prepare the Table
A few days before, select a tablecloth, napkins, and serving platters. Make the silverware shine with a quick polish, if necessary.
Clean Out the Fridge
Don't forget to make room for incoming food before your big grocery run.
Create a Centerpiece
Here's an easy way to bring some seasonal flair to the dinner table: Head outside and gather leaves of various autumn colors, then arrange in a vase or shallow glass bowl.
Prevent Messes Before They Happen
Place a large, absorbent, nonskid mat in front of the sink to catch crumbs and spills.
Dress the Part
Lay out what you'll wear to dinner the night before so you can quickly change out of your cooking clothes just before guests arrive.
Roast the Turkey
Want an easy way to keep stuffing from spilling out? Simply seal the cavity with the end of a loaf of bread.
Ready Dessert in Advance
Scoop ice cream into muffin tins or decorative molds early in the day. At serving time, remove and place on pie slices.
Use this shortcut for making super-sized salads: Put all ingredients, including dressing, into a large plastic bag. Toss, then pour into a punch bowl.
Start the Kitchen Cleanup
Cut dishwashing time in half by soaking all used pots, pans, and utensils in hot, soapy water before you sit down at the table.
Go around the table and have each person share a few things she's most grateful for. Or ask family members to recount a favorite memory of a past Thanksgiving.
Keep Your Family Entertained
After the meal, break out a generation-spanning game like Monopoly, or a deck of cards to play Go Fish or gin rummy.
Seal out frost and preserve flavor by packaging freezer-destined leftovers in a double sheet of aluminum foil or heavyweight plastic bags (squeeze out the air). If you're using plastic wrap for refrigerated leftovers, dip a finger in water and moisten the rim of a dish before covering to create a tight seal.
Scrub the Oven
Shake a heavy dose of table salt over fresh spills. Wipe up the residue with a damp sponge or paper towel once the oven cools.
Plan for December Holidays
Another big feast is less than a month away. Make note of everyone's favorite dishes so you can give them new twists—or just recreate them—next time.