I’m crossing things off the list. No, not the naughty list, although it is that time of year. This is a different holiday list.
Since Jeff and I are hosting Thanksgiving for my family at our house, the list making began yesterday. I can’t complain about the process of making the list – it was actually quite fun. We each got a cup of coffee, snuggled under the covers with our Thanksgiving recipes and began THE LIST.
What is The List……it’s our way of staying organized and not dreading holiday company and it has three major components.
First, the list of all the items we will serve for the meal. Some of the items are old favorites and some are new additions. Some we will make and others have been assigned to other family members. Here’s what the 2015 menu looks like:
- Turkey (brined and cooked on the Big Green Egg)
- Stuffing – Laura
- Mashed Potatoes – Mimi
- Corn Pie
- Brussels Sprouts with Maple Bourbon Glaze
- Cranberry Apple Sauce
- Sautéed Pears with Bacon & Mustard Dressing
- Pumpkin Pie – Pop-Pop
It’s a carb-heavy menu I know – but you have to give the people what they want!!!!
Now for the second component of the list. The daily tasks. We write the tasks we will do each day – including calendar items from our “regular life” so that nothing is forgotten. As we match Thanksgiving tasks with days, we work backwards, filling in things that can get done early where there is time available. We also try to schedule some “me time” or “us time” on the list so we’re not completely burnt out by the holiday.
The following is the tasks section from The List:
- confirm food assignments
- buy small roller cover
- make applesauce
- 2nd coat of paint on bench
- call cuisinart
- bathe Macy
- state store
- make chicken cordon bleu meatloaf
- fix cords on bedroom television
- hang hooks
- wash sheets
- clean upstairs
- clean master bathroom
- grocery shop for all but perishables
- make pizza dough for Barb’s party
- make meatballs and sauce for Monday night dinner
- bake sweet potatoes for lunches
- make soup for tonight’s dinner
- J&J work
- Jeff men’s ministry in p.m.
- buy charcoal
- take beer to KS for party
- finish painting bench
- iron napkins
- Jeff ear doctor
- clean living room, kitchen, powder room
- get pumpkin beer from Craig
- corn out of freezer
- chicken drippings and broth out of freezer
- wax bench
- pick up turkey
- Barb’s party
- finish cleaning
- walk with Macy
- brine turkey
- make corn pie
- prep Brussels sprouts
- crisp bacon for pears
- prep gravy ingredients
- prep sautéed pear ingredients
- make dressing for pears
- get BGE ready (chips, charcoal, drip pan, etc.)
- set table
- set buffet table
- 3:00 am – light BGE
- 3:30 am – turkey on BGE
- make gravy
- make sautéed pears
- last-minute straightening
- fill water glasses
- ENJOY company
Finally, the last component of The List is the groceries. We make two grocery lists…..one we will use on Sunday when we purchase everything except the perishables and the other for those things that have to be purchased at the last minute.
To save time at the store – which we all know will be quite crowded no matter when we go this week – the list is sorted into categories. I won’t share the entire list with you, but the categories are as follows:
- Dry & Prepared
- Liquor Store
I don’t always sort my grocery lists this way, but I’d say I do about 85% of the time and I miss it when I don’t have it sorted. The days I don’t take the extra time to sort my lists are the ones I find myself wandering back and forth through the store because I’ve missed something in produce and don’t discover it until I’m in the frozen foods section.
If you’re new to hosting holidays, I’d strongly encourage you to find your version of The List. Our way won’t work for everyone, but it is a great jumping off point. Knowing what you need to do each day will keep you from panicking or being overloaded on the actual holiday.
A funny story from one of our early Thanksgivings – one that I’m sure is not unique to us, but from which I hope someone can learn. I’m not sure it was the first time we were hosting Thanksgiving, but it may have been. I didn’t realize Jeff had purchased a frozen turkey. I didn’t discover that fact until Wednesday evening when I began thinking about what time I needed to put the bird into the oven. Well, after many phone calls with my mom, I’m sure a few tears and some panic, Jeff and I were up most of the night changing the water in the bathtub to thaw the turkey (which was so large it didn’t fit in our kitchen sink).
I wish I could say that was the year that inspired The List; but we are slow learners. It wasn’t until many more panicky holiday moments that we realized a list would save us stress, long nights and a more than one argument! So from years of holiday experience, I present to you The List!