It is that time of year again when everyone begins to think and prepare for the large family dinner parties.

If this is the year that you have been chosen to prepare Thanksgiving dinner for the entire family you may be feeling overwhelmed. But, as long as you prepare and have everything ready beforehand, your dinner could be that special wonderful meal and will turn out to be a joyous time to remember for you and your family.

Start planning your Thanksgiving dinner around Halloween. Yes, that is correct about one month in advance. You will need to choose what recipes you plan on serving. You will have plenty of time to scout for new recipes and maybe try a few on your family. You may wish to order either a turkey or ham that has already been prepared or you may prefer a fresh turkey to a frozen one. A fresh turkey does have a better taste than those frozen ones, and they are easier to prepare, so go with this option if you can.

Go through your pantry and see what you have in the way of spices and flavorings that you may need to prepare some of your favorite dishes including all of those unique dessert and cookies that everyone loves. If you do not have everything that is in the recipes, write a list and begin to shop. Yes, it is fine to shop for your holiday meal three weeks before it is time to cook. If you wait until the last minute to find out that you are out of brown sugar, you may get to the grocery store and find out they also sold out. So, plan ahead and have all the ingredients you need ahead of time, except for the items that can perish like the turkey. You can even order your fresh turkey from the grocery store and tell them the day you will pick it up. If you buy frozen, it will need to thaw in the refrigerator for at least 48 hours before roasting.

About two weeks before Thanksgiving, check to see that you have your china ready and any other eating utensils and serving trays, cleaned, and ready for use. At this time you can also decorate your home with all the colorful and unique holiday decorations. This is also the best time to get out the card table or add a leaf to your dining room table. You do not want to wait until Thanksgiving Day to prepare your home for your family. If you need to, you can even rearrange your furniture to accommodate the guests.

A couple of days before the dinner party, you can begin to prepare things like the vegetable tray, the cheese balls, or other appetizers that will be able to last a couple of days. The day before Thanksgiving, you can bake all of your pies, cakes, cookies, and other yummy treats. Now, on the big day, you can roast your turkey or bake your ham. And begin to set things out such as appetizers.

Now, all you have left to do is wait for your family to arrive and enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner.

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