The kitchen is hot with a hint of smoke and the smell of delicious Thanksgiving food is wafting through the house. Your guests are literally beginning to salivate and a swarm of hungry people are starting to surround the kitchen.

That’s when it happens.

There you are, preparing to plate the food onto your favorite serving platters, when you pull out a beautiful serving dish that just so happens to have a layer of dust on it! It’s been sitting in the back of your cabinet for a year under three other dishes.


Every year we buy a lot of food, prepare our homes, invite our loved ones, cook and dine like few other times. It’s Thanksgiving and even when you’re weeks from the main event, you can already smell the cinnamon and envision the turkey-induced naps.

It’s a lot of work to get the home prepared for cooking and guests. It’s no wonder we sometimes forget the easily forgettable. Don’t let one oversight cast a shadow over all your hard work.

To avoid an uber mistake when the holidays roll in and guests arrive, here are nine tips to help you prepare before you’re in the hot kitchen.

  • Pots and Pans: We all have those pots and pans we use once or twice a year. Take inventory of what you’ll need, pull out everything in advance and give them a good hand washing.
  • Large Serving Platters and Serving Utensils: Similar to our infrequently used pots and pans, we also have special serving platters and utensils. Some may be shaped like a turkey or Santa. Make sure you find, check and clean those once-a-year platters and utensils. They make holidays special, so make them clean.
  • Table Linens: Decorative cloth napkins, table cloths, and placemats might be a hallmark of the Thanksgiving experience, but they need a wash even if they were cleaned last year after soaking up wine and cranberry juice. They get dusty and could use a wash to make them bounce a bit and freshen up their smell.
  • Table extensions: If you have a table extension, do you remember where you put it? We hardly ever use them, but they are great when needed. Find that extension, give it a wipe with a good cleaner and have it ready to expand your dining capacity.
  • Clean out the refrigerator: Your refrigerator is like Grand Central Station during Thanksgiving and Christmas. You’ll be packing more than normal in there and everyone will be looking in your fridge to find a snack or beverage. Clean out all the old food, wipe down the shelves and drawers. Not only will it make your life easier, but guests will be impressed with your clean, glimmering, and packed-full-of-goodness fridge.
  • Clean Guest / Coat Closets: With more people, perhaps some staying the night, you’ll need a little extra closet space for coats, luggage and even gifts. Clean out your guest and coat closets to make your guest experience more comfortable and your life less stressful.
  • Kitchen Crevices: We all clean the kitchen before guests arrive, especially for Thanksgiving. But we sometimes overlook some spots that can really use the attention. If your kitchen cabinets have knobs, ensure you dust them all. Also, the top of your fridge, the edges around the base of the cabinets, and the top of your cabinet doors could all be harbouring a garden’s worth of dust. Clean them beforehand to avoid having to do it when you have food on the cooktop.  
  • Ceiling Fans: They’re always turning and especially when you’re cooking a huge meal, you need the circulation. Those blades gather dust like a pumpkin pie gathers guests. Ensure you clean your ceiling fans, particularly the blades. They can circulate clean air or a sneezing pandemic.
  • Coffee Maker: The coffee is poured liberally during the holidays and everyone loves a fresh cup in the morning. But if you’re like most people, you rarely clean the coffee maker thoroughly. It’s going to get a lot of use and you might as well take a few moments to run some water and vinegar through the lines to make sure your holiday brew is clean and fresh. Start the day out right with a good tasting cup of joe.

Take the time now to avoid those embarrassing mistakes in the moment. It will make the heat of the kitchen a bit cooler knowing you’re prepared for a splendid feast.

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