Holiday countdown: Two weeks til Thanksgiving

I feel like somewhat of a holiday alarmist to announce the two-week mark so loudly, but I’m also not going to lie — I’m totally unprepared to host the meal for my family this year. I’m picking up a roasting pan this week and I’ve pre-ordered the turkey locally through Dietz Produce, but that’s about it.

I have a vague idea of the sides we’ll serve, because we serve them every year. But I keep toying with the idea of making my own stuffing, or serving local squash instead of our normal frozen peas. And I’m crossing my fingers the pumpkin I boiled, pureed and froze will work out OK in the pumpkin cake. Really, I’m crossing my fingers for all of it.

So when a friend linked me to the first installment of “The No-Tears, No-Panic Thanksgiving Countdown Guide” via theawl.com, it was a blessing and a curse.

  • A blessing because as I read, I thought “Oh wow, that is a great idea. Planning for those other meals Thanksgiving weekend. Buying wine ahead of time.”
  • A curse because I also thought, “Who on EARTH is this prepared for things?! It’s three days into November!”

And then I succumbed into a panicky, nervous sweat that subsided only once I put Thanksgiving out of my mind entirely. Which, hey, is sometimes how I deal with overwhelming things. Nothing like a little conflict-avoidance to smooth things over.

But as I thought about this looming two-week mark, I decided to follow my own advice — you know, that advice I gave ya’ll two weeks ago and then knocked to the back of my mind:

Begin with a plan.

And so I did — I mapped out meals for the days before and after Thanksgiving, I menu-planned for the big meal itself, I marked my calendar so I wouldn’t forget to pick up my sister at the Harrisburg airport, etc. Yes, I still have to go down to Central Market and buy the meal ingredients, and yes I still have to wash the sheets and towels, and yes I still have to clean my apartment from top to bottom. But I feel a tiny bit better.

Is it just me who gets easily overwhelmed by holiday planning? Does anyone have any tried-and-true tips on how to host a calmer, stress-free holiday?

More
Find local sources for Thanksgiving ingredients
Get tips on cleaning and recipes for homemade cleaning products
Try a new twist on a classic Thanksgiving recipe
Create place cards from cardstock, test tubes and fresh flowers


Smart is showcasing something different each day of the holiday season. Some days it will be an event, such as a play or craft bazaar. Other days it will be a recipe you can serve during Christmas dinner or a suggestion for entertaining the kids. We’ll give tips to survive the holidays — all 61 days of them. View past posts by clicking on “Holiday countdown” under “Things to do” at the top of the homepage.

Sarah Chain

I'm an avid reader and book lover living and working in downtown York. Follow me on Twitter at @sarahEchain.

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