Congratulations on your new home! You looked at the Mansfield and Ashland homes for sale and made one of them your own. What better way to show it to your friends and family than to host your first Thanksgiving dinner? That may seem rather daunting at first, but our REALTORS® want to encourage you to give it a try by sharing this helpful guide.
- Plan ahead
Create a plan well in advance of the holiday for several different reasons. First, you want to make sure the guests you invite don't already have other plans. Next, think about how you want your gathering to look. Will you have a few people over for a small, intimate gathering, or will you have an enormous guest list? Think about whether you will be able to accommodate everyone at the dining room table or if you'll need to get creative with seating. This is also the best time to consider your resources, including the comfort of your guests, the cost of the meal, and your kitchen skill set.
- Determine what you will serve
Start with the basic turkey, potatoes, and dressing and go from there. This is the time to consider the dietary needs of your guests. You can't tailor the meal to every guest, but you should provide options for people with diabetes, gluten intolerance, or allergies. You don't want a loved one looking on sadly as everyone else enjoys the meal. If you don't already know their limitations, it is perfectly acceptable and appreciated to ask about them.
- Make your gathering inclusive
People enjoy being a part of things, so don't feel that you have to do everything yourself. When they ask how they can help, tell them. Many seasoned cooks take great pride in a signature dish they prepare every Thanksgiving. Encourage them to bring their favorites. Non-cooking guests often like to bring a bottle of wine, a vegetable tray, or dessert. Accept their offers with a smile. They will save you both time and money.
- Establish a budget
Once you have determined what you will be serving, make a detailed grocery list. Go price shopping in advance to determine the total cost. Consult recipes to create detailed lists of every item you need to buy and ensure the recipe is sufficient to serve every guest. To determine the size of the turkey to purchase, figure one to one and a half pounds per person. That sounds like a lot, but remember, the bird has a lot of bones and fat that are not edible. If you're feeding eight adults, you'll need a turkey that weighs a minimum of eight pounds with no leftovers, up to twelve pounds with leftovers. Figure a half-pound per child. Total up the meal cost and if it's greater than your budget will allow, make the necessary adjustments.
- Create a timeline
It's important to buy the turkey far enough in advance to allow it to thaw in the refrigerator. In general, you can count on twenty-four hours for every four pounds. That means a twenty-pound bird will require five days to thaw. Purchase it no later than the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Consult your recipes to determine when to start cooking each dish. Prepare everything possible in advance, right down to setting the table. The less you have to do on Thanksgiving, the more you will be free to enjoy your company. Don't forget to allow ample time for yourself to shower and freshen up.
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