November 13, 2010

I wrote this post 14 hours ago, went to NYC on the Vamoose Bus, expecting wifi and intending to get this out to you this morning. No wifi. None. Until this moment. Amazing how dependent I’ve become on technology. Have to say, it was kind of refreshing to daydream (and watch Season 1 of Dexter!) for a few hours.

It’s two weeks until the Dead Poultry party, and just ten days until our houseguests arrive, expecting dinner, drinks and a warm bed. As part of my plan for Thanksgiving, I took yesterday to run some errands and take care of other business. It’s a stroll, not a sprint, remember?

Getting a great massage (ask for Dana) may have been the best thing I did for myself yesterday. This is a stressful time of year for all of us, and taking time out to pamper yourself will help immeasurably. Maybe you get that deep relaxation from a pedicure. Or going to see a movie by yourself. Or spending a couple of hours at that excellent museum exhibit you’ve been meaning to see. Regardless – get yourself some down time in the coming week, or before you know it, you’ll be hiding in the bathroom with a bottle of bourbon, sobbing.

Here’s a quick list of some errands to knock off your list before Thanksgiving week arrives.

Pick up a case of wine and another one of beer. Get back ups of your favorite liquor. Stash a case of sparkling water (San Pelligrino is on sale at Costco this month.) And if you drink soft drinks or sodas, make sure you have extra. You’ll want to have enough for entertaining and you won’t want to be in the grocery store or wine shop the day before Thanksgiving.

If you’re planning to send out holiday cookies or other treats, this is a perfect time to shop The Container Store. They have a great selection of tins, boxes and other packaging, plus gorgeous wrapping paper and ribbons, and the stores are stocked up now. (All available online, too.) I picked up a my tins, bags and boxes yesterday and with a $100 purchase, received a $15 gift card (to be used in December.) I’ll take that gift card in the day after Christmas, when tins are on sale, and start stocking up for next year.

Get a haircut. You don’t want to look worn out and exhausted in all those photos, do you? Pick up a fresh lipstick. Maybe a sparkly new outfit for the holiday.

Stock your freezer and pantry with a few items you are sure to need: unsalted butter, olive oil, flour, sugar, brown sugar, chocolate chips (Chocolate chip cookies are a lifesaver of a last minute dessert. Everyone loves them.) Grab a can of pumpkin puree. Buy your cranberries. Baking bread? Pick up some fresh yeast.

If you have a cool spot – I use my garage – get your onions, potatoes, yams, cabbages, winter squash and root vegetables for your Thanksgiving dinner.

Finalize your menu. It doesn’t have to be set in stone, but get an idea of how many dishes you’ll be serving. If it seems overwhelming, call your guests and ask them to take on something. A shared Thanksgiving feast is easier on everyone.

Making pies for dessert? How many pie crusts do you need? Those can be made now and frozen. Take them out of the freezer on Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

If you’re using your (gas) grill for your turkey, as I am, check the propane and order an extra tank, just in case. I spent one propane-less Thanksgiving morning sitting on the basement steps crying. Just sayin’.

Check your table linens. If they need to be ironed, take care of that now, not Thanksgiving morning. Count your wine glasses and plates and silverware. Have enough? If not, time to ask your guests if they can help out. Or call a rental company. I bought boxes of inexpensive wine glasses several years ago at Bed, Bath and Beyond. I think they were $10/dozen. It’s worth having a couple dozen glasses, even if they are stored under the guest room bed most of the year.

Look around your guest room. Is it ready for your houseguests? Make the bed up, fluff the towels, add a book or magazine next to the bed, a carafe and water glasses. Check the closet for hangers. I keep a basket in the closet of the guest room filled with things often forgotten – toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, combs, disposable razors, hair elastics, hand cream and so on. Stock the guest bath with fresh soap and hand towels. I keep packages of paper guest towels on hand for big parties. I’m hunting around for a luggage rack – the one element missing in my guest room. Can’t find one anywhere…

Put several extra rolls of toilet paper in the bathroom.

If you’re having houseguests, do they have particular likes and dislikes? Needs? I know that one of our guests is often cold, so will put an extra blanket in the closet and a lap blanket on the chair in the bedroom.

Stock up on caffeinated and decaf coffees and teas, artificial sweeteners, and any other foods you might not ordinarily keep around. Miss Crankypants Houseguest will get on your last nerve if you have to run out for her decaf chamomile and lavender tea on Thanksgiving morning.

OK. Now that I’ve knocked all those annoying little jobs off the big list of things to do, I’m heading to New York to have lunch with a group of my favorite people. I hope you have a great weekend. I’ll be back on Saturday with more tips to get us all sanely to Thanksgiving.


8 Responses to “Errands and Lists on the way to Thanksgiving”

  1. Elycooks

    Cathy, I would love to see a work-back schedule for all that you do for Thanksgiving Day AND your party. My mind just boggles, but you must have it down to a science/art!

    • Cathy

      Elyse, I’ve been thinking about your comment for awhile. First I had to acquaint myelf with “work-back schedule” – one of those terms of art, hm? I so lost touch with these things when I left marketing work. I will admit that some of what I do for Thanksgiving entertaining begins as early as May, when I make pickles, July – when sour cherry pie filling is canned. And so on. I love Thanksgiving. Can you tell?

    • Cathy

      Thank You!!! You have no idea how happy you’ve made me. Happy Thanksgiving! And good luck this week on Food52.



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