If you hosted Thanksgiving dinner this year, now is the time to start planning next year's event. Take notes of your successes and failures now, while they're still fresh, and you will be grateful the next time Turkey Day rolls around. Domestic CEO has a neat trick to help.
Over the past few weeks, I spent a lot of time getting ready for Thanksgiving. My husband and I live in Arizona, while our families are in the Midwest, so each year we host dinner for all our local friends whose families are far away.
Last year, we saw the biggest turnout, with 19 hungry people sitting around our dining room table. But this year, we had 23 RSVPs. While I was super excited to host such a large group, I suddenly started to panic a few days before Thanksgiving. You see, I realized that I had spent so much time getting things ready last year that I completely forgot to write down how much food it took to feed 19 people. So I was starting this year's preparation from scratch. Not good.
If you've been reading or listening to the Domestic CEO podcast, you know that I love a good sale. That's why I do most of my holiday grocery shopping throughout the month of November when I see the main items go on sale. I had already purchased a case of chicken broth, boxes of stuffing, the massive turkey, and a decent amount of fresh veggies that I bought the Saturday before Thanksgiving.
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But then, on Monday morning, one more person confirmed - taking the group from 22 to 23. For whatever reason, this increase made me super paranoid that we were going to run out of food - as if this one person was a competitive eater and would eat us out of house and home. So I did what any logical hostess would do: I went to the store and bought double of everything on the menu. Another turkey, another bag of potatoes, another everything.
Needless to say, there were many items that we had too much of (who knew my friends wouldn't want to eat healthy roasted asparagus?). But there were also a few items that we almost ran out of (broccoli casserole made with a jar of processed cheese sauce and a can of cream of mushroom soup. Don't tell Nutrition Diva!). And considering that most of our guests grew up in the Midwest, I'm almost certain that the only reason we didn't run out of cheesy broccoli casserole is because everyone was too polite to gobble down the last cheesy spoonful.
This was a teachable moment.
I am vowing not to make the same mistake next year. That's why I created a little document for my Thanksgiving meal notes. It is a simple chart where I wrote down the foods we had, how much, who made it, and if it was not enough, too much, or just right. I have included the form below and as a free download so you can save yourself from a panicked scramble next year, too! It's a small thing that can make a big difference when you are committed to being the hostess with the mostess!