Let’s be honest: the holidays aren’t always merry and bright — particularly for busy hosts and hostesses attempting to keep up with a seemingly never-ending list of things to do. The truth is that things can, and do, go wrong, but there are some things you can proactively do to avoid adding to the seasonal stress. This roundup of seven common Thanksgiving challenges and proactive solutions can help you keep your holidays on track.
1. A non-working oven
People spend all year dreaming of this one magnificent meal. But what happens when you turn your oven on only to discover that it won’t heat? It may feel like the fodder of nightmares in the moment, but it’s a reality for many people.
The simplest way to avoid ending up in this predicament? Routine servicing. Experts recommend having this important appliance professionally serviced at least once a year, as well as if/when you notice indications of oven damage. Not only can this spare you heartache on Thanksgiving Day, but it can also help you avoid expensive deferred maintenance costs.
The same concept applies to everything from your fridge not cooling to your HVAC not working. As the old adage goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” (You’ll be exponentially grateful for this advice when 40 pounds of turkey are involved.)
2. Limited oven space
Turkey, roast vegetables, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, corn pudding, and dinner rolls. These are just a few of the most common dishes and side dishes gracing Thanksgiving tables across the country every year. And while each part of the meal perfectly complements each other on the plate, they often end up vying for space in the oven.
Taking time to plan out what will go into the oven and when is the best way to understand space constraints likely to arise in the kitchen. This can also help you formulate a game plan for getting it all done in a timely manner. Preparing as much as possible in advance and/or taking advantage of prepared gourmet mail order food delivery can help minimize conflict and maximize output.
3. Limited time
The flip-side of limited space? Limited time. A frequent mistake made by modern hosts is insisting on doing everything themselves. From asking for help from friends and family members to ordering up gourmet mail order food delivery, there are many ways to lighten your load without shirking in your hosting duties.
In fact, delegating and outsourcing can not only improve the quality of your meal but also can free you up to have more fun in the process. Not to mention that your guests don’t care if you prepared the meal yourself or not; they’ll simply be thankful to have more time to spend with you.
4. Dinner table dynamics
Feuding relatives may be fodder for sitcom episodes and Saturday Night Live skits, but they’re a very unfunny reality for many Americans. The good news? Everything from uplifting music to relaxing fragrances can help set a calming mood and keep guests in a pleasant state of mind.
Keep in mind that some of your guests will have traveled a long way and may arrive peckish. Having food at the ready is a smart way to keep tempers from flaring. Encouraging people to share what they’re grateful for is another activity which can help even the grumpiest guests get into the holiday spirit.
Experts also suggest that free-flowing alcohol can sometimes lead to holiday conflict. While this doesn’t require hosting a “dry” holiday, it does mean offering up plenty of festive, alcohol-free beverage options to ensure that guests stay happily hydrated. If someone does overindulge in spiked cider, have a transportation plan at the ready.
5. Dietary restrictions
Dietary restrictions are a fact of life for many Americans, as well as for the people tasked with feeding them. While you don’t have to serve up an entire meal centered around the restrictions of a single dinner guest, including a gluten-free, vegetarian, paleo or vegan option or two is a thoughtful gesture. Again, this doesn’t have to mean overhauling your menu. Many popular side dishes are naturally free of common food allergens.
Of course, offering appealing menu items to people with dietary restrictions relies on knowing what those dietary restrictions are. Checking in with guests in advance can help you get a better understanding of the needs of the people seated around your table.
6. Unexpected guests
From last-minute Thanksgiving “orphans” to visitors who just drop by, predicting how much food you’ll need to feed everyone on (and off) your guest list can be tricky. Rather than risking it, make extra. Not only is it better to be safe than sorry, but who doesn’t love Thanksgiving dinner leftovers?
Be sure to stock your pantry and fridge with gourmet cheese, crackers and other easy yet elegant snacks which can simply be pulled out and served at a moment’s notice.
7. Unrealistic expectations
Pinterest is a phenomenal destination for finding clever, creative holiday ideas. However, it can also lead to a chasm between fantasy and reality. Perspective is an important part of holiday hosting happiness. Avoid setting yourself up for disaster by reigning yourself in. After all, there’s no winning or losing at Thanksgiving; rather, it’s all about being grateful for what you’ve got.
Having realistic expectations doesn’t have to mean setting a low bar, however. But it does mean accepting your weaknesses, embracing your strengths, and acknowledging that not only can you not do everything, but you don’t have to…with a little help from FoodyDirect, that is. Shop foods to start planning your holiday menus today.