I recently heard this statement “Getting Ready is a Key Aspect of Performance.” I figured it was just referring to getting dressed and putting make-up on…you know getting out of your pajamas for the day, nope I was wrong. It was referring to preparing for whatever task you need to do. In order to have a successful day in general we need to “get ready” meaning set goals, prepare the night before by laying out clothes or packing lunches etc. And a BIG task that you have to “get ready” for is Thanksgiving. If you have ever hosted you know how overwhelming this can be and add the fact that the majority of us do not live in mansions, we have to make some changes to our home in order to host a large group of people for Thanksgiving.
If you are a subscriber to my blog you know that we live in an 1100 square foot cape. We came from 2800 square feet, where I hosted Thanksgiving for 30 people for seven years. It is sad to say that even in almost triple the space I still felt stressed about fitting everyone in our home for Thanksgiving and I often thought our house was not big enough. Horrible way of thinking. I have since reframed my thinking. It is all about “getting ready” for hosting. Making your home work best for the event you will be hosting. I have some tips for getting reading for Thanksgiving and really these could apply to any event you are hosting.
1- Be Thankful
The best tip I can give is to focus on the fact that you have family and friends that you get to spend this wonderful holiday with. They don’t care if they have to squeeze between your fridge and a chair to get by. No one will walk away and say “jeesh! Could they have done an addition before Thanksgiving?!”
We all like to show our homes in the best light. You might have a gorgeous glass center piece on your ottoman that you love, but guess what? It will be in the way when people come over and could get broken. Move it. I go through and simplify things. Yes, that means I remove a few extra accessories and I simplify my kitchen counters.
And you know what- you might find that you like it that way. I know I do. Any party I host you can count on some sort of game. We like Bingo because everyone can play. For the adults I would let them go to my basement and pick out a home decor item to take home!
3- Create Jobs
Everyone likes to feel apart of creating Thanksgiving. All of my family would immediately find me in the kitchen and ask what they could do to help. And my mind would go blank and I would get stressed. To eliminate that feeling I cleared off my sideboard and made an area of tasks everyone could help with. I have everything all set up so guests can grab an item off of the sideboard and get to work.
These are some of the tasks I set out-
– Light the candles
– Pour water in the cups
– Set out the place-cards and figure out where everyone will sit (I would waste way too much time on this so I decided to delegate)
– Put out the napkins and silverware
Some of these you could easily do before your guests arrive, that is not the point. The point is to involve others and make them feel useful and helpful.
4- Create an Activity
Now this is my absolute favorite thing to do. I would always print out leaves for everyone to write what they were thankful for. I had it all set up and I would have my girls go around and remind everyone to fill out a thankful leaf when guests walked in the door. This is always a great distraction and gives everyone something to do right when they walk in. Once dinner was started we would pass the bowl of leaves around and someone would take a leaf out and read the anonymous thankful leaf. We would all then guess who said it. Everyone got a kick out of guessing. I did have one rule that we could not write the typical thankful answer “thankful for family” we are all thankful for that. We wanted to dig deeper! You can find the leaves to download on THIS post.
5- Traffic Flow
I have an area in my kitchen that drives me crazy. One of the main traffic patterns is walking through the back door to the rest of the home. But you have to walk between the fridge and the dining table. When someone sits on the dining chair it makes it hard to open the fridge or walk by. Knowing this I switch out our regular dining chair to a backless stool. It makes such a difference! You can also fit a lot more guests around around your dining table with a smaller backless stool- perfect for kids.
Below are some of my favorite backless stools- (my white dipped legged stools are not the best for sitting- they tip over easily. But I still use them, because they are really small and great for small spaces and small booties).
Hopefully by “getting ready” you will be happier and less-stressed this Thanksgiving no matter the size of your home. You can see my Thanksgiving Table Ideas HERE.