17 Hacks That Will Make Thanksgiving 2020 So Much Easier
Blog | November 5th, 2020
Thanksgiving is an excellent opportunity to spend time with friends and family, reflect on everything you are grateful for, and, of course, enjoy your favorite holiday dishes.
If you’ve ever hosted Thanksgiving for your loved ones, you know the preparations can be overwhelming. 2020 is bound to be no exception, given the added stressors of keeping those you gather with for the holiday not only satisfied (and full of turkey), but also safe and healthy.
Luckily, we have 17 useful Thanksgiving hacks to make hosting this year’s gathering a breeze!
1. Make Space in Your Fridge
Half of the work of hosting Thanksgiving is preparing your kitchen for a high volume of dishes. The week leading up to Turkey Day is your opportunity to eat up (or toss) all of the leftovers in your fridge to make space for the stuffing, sweet potatoes, and green bean casserole.
2. Prep and Label Your Ingredients Ahead of Time
Save yourself the time (and the tears) on Thanksgiving by chopping the onions for the stuffing a few days in advance, labeling them, and setting them aside in your freshly cleared-out refrigerator. Check out Martha Stewart’s tips for which ingredients you can prep and store ahead.
3. Clean Your Oven In Advance
The last thing you need on Thanksgiving Day is a dirty oven giving off fumes that alter the taste of your holiday dishes. Make sure your oven is ready to go by cleaning it before the big day.
4. Stage Your Dishes and Dining Table Beforehand
Plan out which cookware and serving dishes you plan to use before Thanksgiving Day. Similarly, set the table ahead of time, especially if you plan on going all-out with decorations. You can find plenty of design inspiration for Thanksgiving table settings on Pinterest.
5. Use Disposable Dishes and Utensils
Disposables are not only a clean-up friendly option but also a great safety precaution for Thanksgiving in 2020 when families and friends are hyper-aware of spreading germs. If you're keen on elegant place settings, you can easily find classy and affordable disposable dishware.
6. Decorate with Nature
Take a walk around your backyard or neighborhood to gather pine cones, branches, and leaves. These make the perfect rustic decorations and are easy to toss in a vase for authentic-looking decor on a budget.
7. Provide a Creative Kids’ Table
An excellent option for keeping the kids occupied during the long hours leading up to a Thanksgiving Dinner and the meal itself is to provide them with a fun activity. Try covering your kids’ table in butcher paper and providing them with crayons so they can create hand-turkeys and color to their hearts’ content.
8. Provide Snacks for the Hours Leading Up to the Meal
While it’s common to suggest that guests should be saving room for the big meal, it’s also unrealistic to assume that your loved ones won’t grow hungry (and, consequently, irritable) without eating before dinner. Providing snacks before the meal is the best way to keep your family and friends from getting hangry.
The last thing you want is to run out of space for leftovers during the clean-up stage of your celebration. Make sure you double-check your storage container inventory ahead of time.
10. Opt for Buffet Style
Instead of laying out the Thanksgiving spread on the table this year, consider saving room for decorations, minimizing the spread of germs, and maximizing efficiency by serving your meal buffet-style. Read Cottage Farmstead's article for more tips like this to achieve a social-distanced Thanksgiving.
11. Create a Timeline
The best way to manage multiple dishes when cooking a big meal (and guarantee dinner is on the table on time) is to study your recipes and create a master timeline of when to begin each dish. Making a plan to rotate oven and stovetop use will increase efficiency and save you from stress.
12. Stick to One or Two Show-Stopping Dishes
Don’t be over-ambitious with your menu, and don’t feel like you have to make everything from scratch. If you’re giving your all to the artisan turkey and homemade cranberry sauce, don’t feel guilty buying the rolls and a pie from the bakery.
14. Decorate Your Pie Crust Using Kitchen Utensils
No fancy baking tools are necessary to create a gorgeously designed pie crust. Use common kitchen utensils like tongs, a measuring spoon, or a corkscrew to create bakery-worthy designs. Check out tips from Bakepedia for more on how to do this.
15. Keep Mashed Potatoes Warm in a Slow Cooker
One of the trickiest parts of navigating Thanksgiving meal prep is coordinating oven and stove use. Food Network’s hack to ensure you have enough space for all your dishes is to cook your mashed potatoes ahead of time and heat them in your slow cooker the day-of.
16. Delegate Cooking Tasks
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, your guests will likely want to help out wherever they can when it comes to putting the meal together. Be prepared to hand off chopping and whisking duties to helping hands.
17. Plan a Potluck Meal
Take delegation a step further by assigning each of your Thanksgiving guests with a dish to prepare and serve. This takes the pressure to cook off your hosting duties and allows you to focus on time with your loved ones. One possibility is planning an open house-style Thanksgiving dinner.
Whether 2020 is your first year hosting or you’re looking to make your long-standing holiday traditions safer, easier, and more fun this year, these hacks will help you focus on the most important part of Thanksgiving—spending quality time with the ones you love.