Life for Lazy People — Thanksgiving Prep

Prone -- probably my favorite position

Prone — probably the favorite position of lazily-productive people like me

It is one short week until Thanksgiving, and I hope you haven’t been waiting for me to tell you to start planning. I have been sick this week, and each day I think, “Tomorrow I’ll work on a grocery list and get to the store,” but tomorrow comes and I’m still here in my yoga pants and and fuzzy socks on the sofa, spending way too much time on Facebook and taking naps. But Thanksgiving will come no matter how much I think it might be a good idea to put it off for another week, so I’d best get cracking.

I start planning for a holiday celebration with a little scrutiny of our particular situation. For this Thanksgiving:

–The place: at my parents’ house

–The guests: 20 at last count

–Special needs: three elderly guests with limited mobility (What will work best: pass food at the table, buffet, young people serve older people?)

–The meal: Mom and I divide most of the cooking. We have a pretty standard menu for this holiday:

Turkey — Mom

Gravy — Me

Dumplings — Mom

Cornbread Dressing — Mom

Bread Stuffing/Filling — Me

Cranberry Sauce — Me

Sweet Potato Casserole — Me

Chocolate and Sweet Potato Pies — Mom

Pumpkin Pie and another dessert — Me

In addition, we invite our guests to feel free to bring anything “without which it wouldn’t feel like Thanksgiving to you,” which means we often have green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, some kind of yummy salad, and more on the table. Also, some people bring cheese, bologna, crackers and other nibbly things to have later in the day during all of the game-playing and puzzle-putting-together that typically happens.

–Decorating: This is not my area of talent, but our daughter, Alyssa, does a beautiful job. She organizes the kids and has them make place-cards, she sets up a Thankful Tree, and she makes the table beautiful.

Our situation changes little from year to year, which is both comforting and helpful for the ones doing the hosting.

A half-hour spent gathering my thoughts about Thanksgiving saves time in the long run, a hallmark of lazy productivity.

A half-hour spent gathering my thoughts saves time in the long run, a hallmark of lazy productivity.

This week, I need to think of what I can be doing to make next week easier:

  1. Make space in the freezer, refrigerator, and pantry for extra ingredients and finished dishes.
  2. Look over my recipes and make a detailed grocery list.
  3. Make a food prep schedule, taking into consideration how well each dish keeps, oven space, and storage space. Oh, yes, and take into account my energy level and time availability!
  4. Buy all I can at the grocery store this week. Save produce purchasing for next week.

Does your family celebrate Thanksgiving? Do you have special considerations in your planning? How do you feel about the “big meal” holidays — love ’em or loathe ’em?

Other Lazy Productivity posts you might find useful:
Life for Lazy People — an Introduction

Life for Lazy People — Defining the Vocabulary of Lazy Productivity

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  1. Posted November 21, 2014 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    For the grandkids: Have no fear, I’m also making Pecan Pies!

    We always have a wonderful time sharing the Thanksgiving “duties.”

    • Posted November 21, 2014 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I realized as we were talking this morning that I’d gotten some of the details wrong — pecan instead of chocolate this year! Yum!

  2. Susan McKee
    Posted November 21, 2014 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    I read and I smile. Thanks for posting, I love to hear different folks menus, how they celebrate, who they are getting together with and so on. Traditions are interesting to me.
    We are flying to Birmingham for Thanksgiving to be with David’s mother and siblings. Since I am flying, I may take something I can stuff in my bag like peanut brittle or date nut balls though it isn’t the same since his father isn’t there to enjoy the peanut brittle like a child, but, I am cooking for this weekend and having some folks for a Southern meal. And I was concerned too that it might be too heavy, too many starches. I’m frying chicken, ( breast, thighs and legs), collard greens, pigeon peas, cornbread dressing balls with giblet gravy, mashed potatoes, fried apples and fried ocra. One of the ladies is bringing dessert. I always like to try something new and this meal it is the pigeon peas. I looked all over Annapolis for lady cream peas, a southern white pea but to no avail. I’d never heard of pigeon peas so I got them to try. I made them REALLY spicy! I’ve looked for tasso to season with and couldn’t find it either. Love to read what you are doing. I know it will be a wonderful day.

    • Posted November 21, 2014 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

      Mmm, your menu sounds divine! I love southern cooking — what am I saying? I love north, south, east, west… But my family is southern and I’ll always love a pot of beans and some cornbread or a bowl of greens with some vinegar to stir in.
      Lori recently posted..Parenting for Lazy People: The Napping House, Part IIMy Profile

  3. Suze Tolbert
    Posted November 21, 2014 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    I have always loved Thanksgiving and the food! When I went gluten free this was the hardest holiday to re-do. 10 years later I am getting a better grip on the how-to’s and there are wonderful newer products out now to help make it better. Joel’s family is still adjusting to our GF dumplings since there is no equivalent to Campbell’s soup. 😉 But, it tastes good anyway. I make my own meal for my side of the family the day before and take my own meal to his side on Thanksgiving. I can eat much of what they all make but, it’s always taking a chance someone stirred a gluten-filled item then used that same spoon to stir a GF item…….now contaminated but, unbeknownst to me….and can make me quite ill for the next week to a month. I have learned to work around most things and the family is improving with their awareness. Always an adventure and I love getting together with loved ones! (And I began planning a couple weeks ago to be sure I had most ingredients by now. I, too, have had a cold this week that won’t let up so I am happy I planned ahead!) Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!

    • Posted November 21, 2014 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for sharing your strategies for embracing your dietary needs AND your family and their traditions all at the same time, Suze! Do you eat butternut squash? That is my favorite autumn/winter vegetable and it can be made in all sorts of gluten-free ways that everyone can enjoy.
      Lori recently posted..How Project 333 and The Vivienne Files Unleashed My Inner ShopperMy Profile

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