Rockwell-freedom from wantIf you’re planning to host your family and friends this Thanksgiving, it’s not too early to get a jump on making your house holiday-friendly. Here are some tips and tricks to keep your guests comfortable and your home in tip-top shape.

Prepare for Guests

  • For Older Guests: Eliminate as many tripping hazards as you can, such as area rugs and furniture that sits close to doorways.
  • For Kids: Has it been a while since you’ve had a little one in the house? Make sure choking hazards are out of reach. You may even consider childproofing those unused outlets.
  • Rethink Seating: A week or so before your guests arrive, make sure your living and dining room areas can accommodate everyone. Play around with the location of your furniture to see if the space or flow can work better for company.

Mind your Home

  • Fireplace Inspection: A cozy fire can make for a beautiful Thanksgiving scene, but you’ll need to make sure your fireplace and chimney are up to the task. Small animals, cobwebs, leaves, and even moisture can pose dangers in lighting a fire, so consider a professional inspection before the season begins. Inspections usually run between $100-$300, but are well worth the cost if you plan to gather around the hearth this holiday season.
  • Watch your Sink: notes that the day after Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for plumbers. Why? Cooks and kitchen helpers put all the wrong things down their disposals. Vegetable peelings (especially potatoes), coffee grounds, fat and the occasional errant piece of silverware find their way down the drain during kitchen clean-up.
  • Power Hour: Preparing a large meal doesn’t just suck the energy out of you, your home appliances gobble up power, too. One way to save energy is to avoid opening your oven door to check on food too often; not only does it waste power, but you’ll lose heat and lengthen your cooking time. Think carefully, too about what size burner you use; putting a 6” pan on an 8” burner can waste 40% more energy.

Enjoy the Day!

  • Make Ahead: There are a lot of recipes that hold up well overnight or for even longer in the freezer. Real Simple offers a whole list of make-ahead recipes here. The cider-roasted veggies look especially good!
  • Don’t be Afraid of Store-Bought: Frozen onions won’t make or break your stuffing. A pie from a local bakery can be just as good as homemade. What part of the meal is it really important for you to make yourself? Is it grandma’s plum pudding recipe? Or maybe you’re famous for your sweet potato casserole. Prioritize your menu, and don’t be afraid to let your local shops help you out.
  • Potluck: Most of your guests want to help in some way. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family to bring their specialty dishes.