By now, so many of you are thinking, 'Nance, your series is not so aptly named. It should be titled Rally For November since you have yet to bring us any valuable Tips For Thanksgiving or truly Thanksgiving-themed posts.' Probably there are some of you nervously wringing your hands and downing anxiety medications, wondering when I'm going to start helping you manage your Thanksgiving preparations. For those of you in the latter group, I sincerely hope that you have not, in your jangled state, stumbled upon this frightening article provided by PBS Food. Innocently headed Thanksgiving Planning Checklist, it instead sets an agenda that assumes all of us are hosting a Thanksgiving dinner which will not only be featured in Gracious Living magazine, but televised on the Martha Stewart Network and attended by Heads of State, The Royal Family, and quite possibly, The Cleavers.
According to this article, I am already too late by several days to help you with some preparations, for we should have already at three weeks out:
1. Invited guests
2. Ordered our organic turkey
3. Set our budget
4. Started checking our local grocery ads
5. Planned our menu
6. Pulled out our decorations
7. Purchased additional decorations
Allow me to make all of you feel better when I tell you that I have done Exactly Zero of these things. Furthermore, I can tell you that I will do Exactly Zero of these things. Not only is the menu the same every year, but so are the guest list and the decorations, the latter being nonexistent. Once all of the food is on the table, there is no room for decoration. Besides, the boys would probably try to eat it.
At two weeks out, we must:
1. Check our linens
2. Plan our centerpiece and table decor
3. Buy our frozen turkey (if we are doing so to save money)
4. Check our kitchen supplies and tools
5. Finalize what dishes our guests will bring
6. If deep frying a turkey, double-check the fire extinguisher
We are safely within Two Week Territory, so I'm sure we can all zip into our Linen Closets to do an inspection. I have not yet purchased a turkey, but I have thought about it several times. And my kitchen tools are in a constant state of inventory because I cook all year. Period. Number Five continues to make me chuckle because the day that Jared and Sam and Kait bring something to my home for dinner is going to be a fascinating day indeed. This year, it may well be Blue Buffalo dog food, and it won't be for the table.
At one week out, we rent Downton Abbey (the actual place, not the series), and proceed to:
1. Order flowers
2. Polish the silver
3. Buy wine
4. Plan activities for the children
5. Check our seating
6. Finalize our shopping plan
I think someone is on a whole different Plane Of Existence when she can advise this about polishing silver: "It's probably the least enjoyable task to prepare for any holiday. (Suggestion: Turn it into a game or competition for your kids.) We recommend doing it leisurely with a glass of wine over a night or two the week before Thanksgiving, as opposed to fitting it in to the stress of Thanksgiving week." (Italics are mine. I also had to add the apostrophe in It's.) By the way, I have a silver casserole dish that I got as a wedding present thirty-three years ago. It's still in its original wrapping. Free to a good home, except for shipping costs.
From there the checklist moves to chores that should be done on Saturday/Sunday, then on each day leading up to Thanksgiving. Most notable are three more shopping trips including one to a farmer's market to "swing by to pick up perishable items you need." Also interesting is the quite bossy and judgy observation that the weekend before Thanksgiving is the "perfect time to thoroughly clean your house for entertaining. If you take care of the deep cleaning now, you will only need to tidy up a bit next week. (Unless of course you have small children, in which case you probably basically clean the house every single day.)" And, one last Suzy Homemaker salvo: "Prep your pies on Monday, bake them on Wednesday and warm them on Thursday. Some prefer to bake an apple pie during dinner, but really you just need to warm it." Don't you love the implied wink wink, nudge nudge, only we girls will know?
This article is enough to make me stop donating money to PBS. Is everyone over there crazy, insanely wealthy, drunk, or somehow lost in another decade? Did some poor peon find an old scan of a page from Godey's Lady's Book and retype it? Did Miss Piggy stage a coup?
What a fantastic lot of bullshit. If I submitted to you My Thanksgiving Checklist, it would start at One Week Out. Actually, it can start Right Now:
1. I have two bags of cranberries.
2. They are in my freezer from last year.
And how are your preparations going?