Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Getting Prepared

One week and the Thanksgiving Holiday will be here. We’ve talked about making plans, menus, and coping ideas. But, there are so many more ways to prepare for this very important holiday. Whether you are a guest in someone’s home or hosting the big meal itself, take a few moments to prepare for the onslaught and fill your arsenal with tools that will help you make it to the Sunday after Thanksgiving in one piece, sane, and no worse for the wear.

Shopping. Now’s the time to make your list of things you need. If you are cooking, buy your nonperishable items now so next week can be all about fresh produce, dairy products and the like. Make your finalized menu now and double check recipes to make sure you have all the ingredients needed for each dish. As simple as this seems, many people don’t check and always need to dash to the store in a mad rush for a forgotten spice, herb, chicken broth, or pie crust! If you are not cooking, you still need to shop for something… wine, chocolate, diamond bracelet.

If you are taking part in a gift-giving celebration in December (Chanukah or Christmas, Kwanza or anything else), start shopping now before the crowds become too unmanageable. There are incredible deals in the stores as well as online. Again, have a list and stick to it. Don’t forget a gift from where you can find something to bring (or keep for yourself) among over sixty different items!

Set the atmosphere. If you’re anything like me you need to have a constant stream of your favorite music in the background to keep you grounded and sane. If you have an iPod or MP3 player, create playlists that will keep you smiling no matter what happens. Still have a huge CD collection? Make a pile of only your very favorites. If you rely on cassettes or 8-tracks, go shopping for modern technology; it’s time. Also, decorate your space. If scented candles do it for you, then light them up. Have turkey lights? String them! Thanksgiving plates passed down to you from your grandma, get them out! Even if you don’t entertain or cook, set a pot of water to boil and throw in some cinnamon sticks – the place will smell homey and festive!

Wear something festive. It’s the holiday of Thanksgiving, people. Leave the jeans and sweats for the outside touch football championship; dinner requires something nice. Put your “Sunday Best” (or Saturday or Friday night) on to share the meal with your family/friends/fellow diners. It’s not about designer labels or big price tags; it’s about showing respect for the day, your hosts, and the people at the table. Many scoff at this notion of dressing for holidays remarking, “It’s my day off, why would I want to dress up?” In my opinion, this is a travesty. Again, not the whole day is necessary, but dressing nicely for the occasion shows respect. Food for thought.

Help. You betcha, help out. I wrote about this recently but it needs to be reiterated. Clear the table, stir the gravy, peel the potatoes, open and pour the wine, do the dishes or, at the very least, dry them. The group effort makes for less work for one and a better time for all.

Formulate your thoughts. Invariably you will be asked at some time throughout the day what you are thankful for this year. This practice is not just for elementary school-aged children. The day is called THANKSGIVING so being thankful is a prerequisite. Times are tough, the economy still sucks, there may have been a death, a divorce, a job loss, or an illness, but there still must be something to be thankful. Still don’t know what I’m talking about? Please see the months of Simple Joys blogs on this site. Thanksgiving is talking about the Simple Joys you experienced on the week leading up to Thanksgiving dinner. Start working on this now if you think you will choke.

Learn a joke. People like funny people. If you are going to be with a captive audience learn a joke that is funny but not too off-color so that a mixed crowd, young and old, would appreciate it. Start now to find just the right one. If you are a gifted joke teller, bring your best material and save it for the meal. Who doesn’t love to laugh until the tears fall down their face? Bring laughter to Thanksgiving and you will be well loved and asked back next year!

Have a toast prepared. Something witty, poignant, rather short, and heartfelt will be ideal. I highly recommend any of the gems that Eric Kobb Miller posts on Twitter using the handle @SpitToonsSaloon. His toasts are all tiny works of literary art that would be appropriate throughout the holidays or any time you want to wow your dinner companions. Miller’s work can also be found at

Channel a good mood. The holidays only last a short while in the grand scheme of things. Try your very best to put a smile on your face, be helpful, charming, and simply get along. There is no doubt in my mind the holidays can be overly trying to say the least, but if you make every conscious effort to embrace them and make the most of every situation with a positive vibe, you’ll find that will become contagious and you all might just have a great time this year.

Please join me tomorrow for more recipes on Tantalizing Thursday on Chief 187™ Chatter.


  1. "Wear something festive" ...thanks for reminding me. We all dress so casual nowadays. There was a time when people looked put together every day, down to white gloves and fedoras and today people go food shopping with pajama bottoms masquerading as pants (NOT me!)

  2. Exactly, Gerry! We definitely see eye to eye on this point! Let me know what you decide on to wear for the big day next week! Thank you, as always, for your comments!