Be the turkey. BE the TURKEY!

We’re now just a little over a week away from Thanksgiving, a holiday we’ve been very fortunate to host as a family meal at our home since before the beginning of our marriage, and every year we look forward to it. Both the “spending time with those you love” things and the “look at what we get to eat for breakfast tomorrow” things. Plus, it kind of takes the edge off the occasional urge I get to cook a multi-course meal for a large group of people.

Once upon a time, I would take a couple of days off to lose myself in the world of home entertaining. But as I learn the art of balance in all things, I realized it let the scales tip a bit too far in one direction, and my colleagues would suffer at the office from post-entertaining stress disorder, usually manifested in artfully-folded post-it notes or worse.

Instead, I’ve learned to start spreading out my “domestic blitz” in the week leading up to this grand event to help manage some of the overwhelming feelings that I can fall victim to (this party will fail if I do not provide Camembert – STAT!). Here’s the rough schedule I’ve put together as we count down to T-Day:

T-Minus 7 Days

  • Talk with husband about moving coats from the rear foyer closet to the front foyer closet, since the majority of our guests just use the back door when they come to our house.
  • Confirm guest count
  • Run the oven’s self-clean cycle
  • Clean out litterbox

T-Minus 6 Days

  • Inventory paper products and non-alcoholic beverages currently in stock. Make list of items to purchase before T-Day.
  • Working back from serving time on T-Day, develop schedule for cooking turkey and dressing on Thanksgiving
  • Assemble grocery list

T-Minus 5 Days

  • Collect ingredients needed at grocery store
  • Clean bedrooms
  • Clean the litterbox
  • Pick up any paper products needed
  • Initial planning for buffet layouts and locations (there may need to be more than one)

T-Minus 4 Days

  • Make sure all table linens needed on T-Day are washed (and ironed, if the darn things are in a high-maintenance mood)
  • Clean stairs and foyers
  • Do laundry
  • If we decided to move the coats, this will be the day we do it.

T-Minus 3 Days

  • Wish my father-in-law a Happy Birthday
  • Put turkey in the refrigerator to thaw
  • Purchase wine and sparkling wine
  • Scrub kitchen
  • Clean the litterbox

T-Minus 2 Days

  • Attend book club meeting (it got rescheduled; can’t help it)
  • Vacuum and dust living room
  • Vacuum, sweep and mop dining room

T-Minus 1 Day

  • Prepare brine for Turkey and start brining process in the morning
  • Before going to bed, rinse turkey and set on baking sheet (on a cooling rack, to keep it elevated) and back in the fridge so the skin will dry and be more crisp after roasting
  • Drop son off for overnight with grandparents
  • Put leaves in dining room table
  • Set up extra tables
  • Put linens on tables
  • Set out serving dishes
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Clean the litterbox

T-Day

  • Remove turkey from fridge, and move in wines and non-alcoholic beverages that require chilling
  • Prepare turkey for roasting; commence roasting
  • Make cranberry sauce
  • Set up coffee urn for brewing ~30 minutes prior to guests’ arrival
  • Prepare dressing for baking after the turkey is out of the oven and resting
  • Set up plates and other items needed at buffets

So, how will it all play out? Stay tuned as we count down to this fantastic holiday, and see where this madness takes us…

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