September 13, 2011

Hostess Survivor Guide – Part 2

“Hostess Survivor Guide to the Perfect Thanksgiving Dinner”

Planning and Organizing

This is part two of my mini-series of “Hostess Survivor Guide to the Perfect Thanksgiving Dinner”.
Entertaining is an art - the art of bringing people together to have an enjoyable time, including yourself.

I believe that the success of everything you do in life depends to some extent, on how much and how well you plan things. It is no different when it comes to entertaining. Successful entertaining contains three ingredients; planning, organizing and creativity.

I like to organize and plan everything. I try to avoid surprises, specially unwanted ones. Having a plan not only gives me peace of mind knowing that everything is under control, but also I can follow the whole process, which enables me to look forward with anticipation to my event. 
Having people for a Thanksgiving dinner can become a stressful affair, but it doesn’t have to be one. Spending a little time to plan and organize yourself could save you, in the end, much more than just your time.  I don’t know about you, but I do like to feel relaxed when my guests arrive, and then be able to sit down and actually enjoy my Thanksgiving dinner. So, let’s get started with the planning;

1.   Guest List. First, and foremost, you need a list of people you want to invite.

I think of a guest list already one month in advance, which allows me time to get in touch with everyone and allows them, ample time to respond to my invitation. Depending on how many people I want to invite, I next decide on the,

2.   Type of party; if it’s a sit down dinner or a buffet.   

Personally I like to have a formal dinner for Thanksgiving.  I like to set the table with my special occasions china and have everyone seated around the table. It all depends on your space and the number of people that you are inviting.

Once you have decided on the type of Thanksgiving that you are planning to have, this is a good time to think of table decor.

3.   Fall decorations; a few decorations for the table.

Store are bringing in fall decorations as early as september and if I want to buy any table décor, I do like to get an early start. 

 Whatever type of Thanksgiving gathering you are planning for, keep in mind the kind of food you are planning to serve also, which brings me to my next point.

4.   The Menu.

Here is a sample of one of my Thanksgiving menus;

·         Roasted turkey with mushroom stuffing
·         Mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy
·         Red cabbage sauté
·         Brussels Sprouts
·         Roasted Yams
·         Greek salad
·         Cranberry Jello Mold (or Cranberry Sauce) 
·         Condiments (pickles, olives, hot peppers)
·         Bread- homemade Butter horns

And for Dessert

·         Pumpkin Cheesecake (or Pumpkin Pie)
·         Chocolate Glazed, coffee cream cake

And for Drinks

      Cranberry Dazzler, Grape Juice, Coffee, Tea, and Lemon Water

5.   Once I have a menu in place, I like to go through the recipes and make a list of the ingredients I need to buy.

6.   Next I look at what from my menu can I make ahead, like the Butter horns and the Pumpkin Pies, which freeze well. 

Planning involves a rehearsal of the event in your mind. Visualize how your home will look, how you will greet each person at the door,  what will be said and done to make guests feel welcomed into your home. Visualize  your table setting, each guest around the table, your food presentation and any activity that you would  expect to have happening following the meal. By thinking through every detail, you gain confidence and a more confident you, means a more relaxed host.  So, enjoy your planning time and have fun! 

If you have enjoyed my mini-series, watch for Part 3 - Time Management

Happy Planning!

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