I was waylaid by a stomach bug last week. It was nasty. I am so glad to be back amongst the upright, eating and blogging world. I missed you.
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We had our big family Thanksgiving meal yesterday, which is a bonus on several levels: we'll get to put our feet up and rest this coming Thursday, and enjoy the long weekend without the bustle and the holiday hangover, AND since I've just put out my big spread, I am full of fresh wisdom to share with you before you head into your big day of gathering, cooking and feasting. Without further ado, here are my top 3 best tips for hosting a big day of family and food that will actually be fun for you as well as for everybody else.
1. Start with a good breakfast. This falls into the "do as I say, not as I do" category of advice. Inevitably, I get excited about what needs to get done, jump in, and all too soon find myself famished and spent, a state that can be hard to recover from. Next time I hold a big gathering at home, when I am planning my menu, I will also plan what yummy, sustaining thing I'll be having for breakfast that morning, to ensure that I start the day fueled up and ready for the long haul.
2. Begin with a clean kitchen. I can't stress this enough. The morning of the big day, my husband usually does all the dishes, as well as clears all the old, dead leftovers from the back of the fridge. (Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about.) This ensures that a) we have a fresh and clean space to begin with; b) all our dishes are ready for prepping and serving food; c) we have adequate receptacles and space to hold those all-too-important leftovers. I'm always amazed what a big difference that makes, both to the smooth running of the day, and to help with a relatively painless clean-up after all is said and done.
3. Take a yoga break. Usually, once either the stuffing or the roasted root vegetables are in the oven, I sneak away for 20-30 minutes to take a "yoga nap." This means either this pose or this pose, an eye pillow, and earplugs. Yesterday, since I am pregnant and a day in the kitchen inevitably takes its toll on my low back, I also did parts of this sequence (#17). This is the very best advice I can offer you: take some time out to rest and refill your well sometime in your big prepping day. Sure, you could fold napkins or iron linens or sweep the floor instead, but I promise you that your guests will notice your shining, rested countenance much, much more than they will your shining kitchen faucet. You will be able to be more present with your guests and actually enjoy their company, and isn't it what the big day is all about?
I'm curious: do you have any big-day tricks you can share? What are your plans for this Turkey Day? Are you inspired to incorporate a new self-care routine into your to-do list? I'd love for you to share how it went!