Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday, filled with friends, food, and family. But for the person making the meal, it can be overwhelming to make sure each dish comes out at the right temperature, on time, and deliciously tasty, too. Oh, THE PRESSURE! Stop stressing, it’s all going to be okay. I’ve rounded up some of the most helpful, kooky, and simply genius 25 Thanksgiving hacks for everything from meal prep to the decor. These tips will take the stress off of serving the big meal and put the THANKS back into Thanksgiving!
Wash tons of potatoes at once in the dishwasher. Don’t use soap!
Mashed potatoes… potatoes au gratin… potato salad… so many potatoes! Peel them faster with this trick.
Save yourself some cooking time on Thanksgiving Day by making these Brown ‘n Serve Rolls days or weeks ahead of time.
Make your pie crusts ahead of time, too. Save even more time by making open-faced pies (or top them with whipped cream)!
Cook your cranberry chutney in the microwave. It’s one less thing on the stove top.
If you’re cooking for a small crowd, forego the whole bird in favor of a turkey breast. Even better, cook it in your crock pot so you don’t even have to fuss with the oven.
If your menu is heavy on the garlic, this easy peeling method will save you time and frustration.
You have enough to worry about without trying to save pan drippings from your turkey. This make ahead gravy is delicious and can be made well ahead of the big day.
Can’t decide between mashed russet potatoes or mashed sweet potatoes? Make both at the same time in the crock pot. Genius. Tip: Keep potatoes warm all day long using the “warm” setting on your crock pot. Hooray for no reheating!
Nothing is worse for guests or the hostess than rumbling tummies before dinner is ready. Set out a cheese platter to tide everyone over until you’re ready to sit down for your meal.
Make sure your hard boiled eggs (for potato salad, deviled eggs, etc.) are easy to peel with this cooking method.
After cooking a big, hearty meal for your family, dessert should be simple. Try a no-bake frozen pumpkin pie cheesecake instead of the traditional pumpkin pie. You’ll never go back!
For a portable option to send home with your guests, make crescent pumpkin pies.
Provide doggie bags for your guests. Here are some printable labels to put on paper bags or your old containers.
If you don’t have much of a budget for decor, paint and glitter some old plastic fruit. Gold or silver looks lovely and can carry through the Christmas season, too.
Real food makes for beautiful centerpieces, too. Check out this bowl of walnuts with a pumpkin on top. Pretty, right?
Make simple and rustic placemats out of craft paper or old paper bags. Tip: If they’re wrinkled, you can carefully iron them on low to straighten them out.
Print out one of these “thanks and giving” printables, pop it in a frame, and you have beautiful table decor in just a couple of minutes.
Spruce up the kids’ table with an edible fruit and veggie turkey arrangement.
Turn a pumpkin into a festive wine cooler. They’ve used a craft pumpkin here, but a real pumpkin works, too.
Let your placecards double as centerpieces. These pumpkin placecards will look lovely on a festive autumn table runner with some candles interspersed between them. The guests can take them home after as a nice memento.
If you plan to decorate with pinecones, bake them first to get rid of the bugs. You don’t want any creepy crawlies on your table!
Make your entire house smell fantastic for your guests by cooking up some fall potpourri.
Fill hurricane vases with uncooked popcorn for a rustic, autumn-esque addition to your tabletops.
And finally, the one tip that will truly take your turkey over-the-top is to add BACON to it. My Grammie did this every year, and I’ll tell you what– a slice of bacon has yet to make it to the table before we gobble (see what I did there?) it all up. Here, The Runaway Spoon shares how to wrap your turkey with bacon for that perfectly roasted crust!
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Hopefully these Thanksgiving tips, hacks, and ideas will help you get your meal on the table in less time so you can spend MORE time with those that matter most.