Preparing for Thanksgiving Day, especially if you are the hostess this year…

{an original post written by my friend, Amy, back in 2008}

O Give Thanks to the Lord for He is Good!

Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away. Are you ready? Each year I host the meal for our family. It’s usually around 15 – 20 people. If you are the host in your family, I feel your pain! Do you slave for days and in one short hour, everyone is full, and you are left with a huge mess?

There are oh, so many things that can be done before Thanksgiving Day to make the day more enjoyable for you. The true secret of enjoying a busy holiday lies in the preparation. This week my post is about preparing your food, preparing your table, and preparing your heart.

Preparing your Food:

Sit down and think through your shopping. Don’t be like the people that go to the grocery store everyday during the week of Thanksgiving, and stay so mad at themselves for being so unorganized. Do your shopping on Monday or before, if possible. Make sure you take your list. You don’t want to be near a grocery store after Tuesday afternoon of Thanksgiving week.

Now that you have all of your supplies, make a few dishes in advance. You can make many casseroles and all your pies ahead of time. By doing this, you free up a lot of mess, and a lot of oven space. If you don’t have a double oven, you have to be systematic. You can’t cook everything at once on Thanksgiving Day. So, as the Boy Scouts would say, “Be Prepared.”

Preparing your Table:

Next, think about your table. There are so many stores that have beautiful Thanksgiving paper goods…. What did I say??? Paper Goods??? YES! You bet!!! Your table can be beautiful and easy for cleaning. Not only are we women limited by oven space, we are also limited by dishwasher space. If you absolutely can not bear the thought of using paper goods at Thanksgiving, at least buy dessert plates and cut down on part of the mess.

If you are eating at a table that is not used daily (like your Dining room table), set it before Thursday. As your centerpiece, use something that is low, and won’t have to be removed from your table during dinner. Ex: leaves, pinecones, pumpkins, and gourds. (If you have a Hobby Lobby in your town, right now, all fall décor is 80% off!) Stick a few short candles in the middle of your “fall foliage”, and there you have a beautiful centerpiece that hasn’t broken the bank.

You can even make cute little place cards for all those who will be attending. As you walk around your table placing these cards, you can pray for each person and thank God for their place in your life.

Preparing your Heart:

As the hostess, you have the very important responsibility of setting the tone in your home on Thanksgiving Day. If you are stressed and grouchy, and cook your meal in a begrudging manner – like it’s your greatest inconvenience – then that is the type of day you will have.

You can either poison the day for all the people you love, or you can choose to make your home a haven of thankfulness for everyone to enjoy.

While you clean your house, and prepare for your guests, think about this question: “What am I thankful for?” For me, what I meditate on usually dictates my attitude.

A few of our family traditions:

When our family gathers for Thanksgiving dinner, we usually read a Psalm of thanks then hold hands in prayer. If you do this, some of your guests may not be comfortable with this tradition. But remember, this may be a perfect time to gently share your faith to those you love.

After dinner, while having dessert, we play the Thankfulness Game. I use fake leaves from the store (either silk or paper), and write a letter on each leaf, spelling the word THANKSGIVING. Each person picks a leaf and says something they are thankful for that corresponds with the letter on the leaf.

We started this tradition when our children were very young. And to this day (now my boys are 13 & 16) they still ask if we’re going to play the Thankfulness Game. Sometimes the smallest family traditions mean so much to our children. Often it becomes very humorous, and sometimes it’s serious, but either way, it’s a fun way to have meaningful conversation. (If you’re organized enough, you could keep a list from year to year, and store it with your fall decor.)

So between now and next Thursday, be like a good “Thanksgiving Boy Scout”, and BE PREPARED.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanks, Amy!  You continue to inspire me in my homemaking.  Love you~



About SmellingCoffee

I'm a Jesus-loving, husband-loving, family-loving minister's wife and mom to two college kids, making our home and serving our Lord in the Mississippi Delta. I study, teach, speak, and write for the greatest Boss in the universe. "Faith, Family, Food, Fun, and Living Life brewed in the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ in every place": That's what you'll find at