A stress-free Thanksgiving can be a pretty big goal, especially if you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner. Your to-do list can get overwhelming very quickly. Space, time, and menu planning can all make the start of the holiday season stressful. The good news is that a stress-free Thanksgiving is possible with a few tips and some early planning.

Plan Your Menu

Let me give you some good advice: Let people help. Let your guests bring a dish or dessert so that you’re not pressured to prepare everything that will be served. Is there a favorite dish that a cousin always makes? Can grandma bring her famous apple pie? Get commitments from guests early about what dishes they’d like to bring so that you know what’s left to handle. This creates a definite grocery list that makes shopping a breeze, and you’ll have your meal planned out in advance.

Unearth the Serving Plates

When you only use something once or twice a year, it likely gets relegated to the back of a closet or a basement shelf somewhere, but you don’t want to wait until the turkey is ready to carve to find the serving trays you use every year. Once your meal is planned, you can take stock to make sure that you have everything you need to make your dishes. This is also a great time to check if you’ve got enough plates, napkins, and cutlery for everyone. Disposable plates, cups, and forks can really come in handy on Thanksgiving Day, and will reduce clean-up immensely.

Work Ahead of Time

Planning ahead can range from decorations to meal prep. If you have some festive Thanksgiving turkeys and pumpkins that you would like to display around your home, sooner than later is when you want to dig that out of storage. Decorations are not something you want to worry about Thanksgiving morning when you’re busy basting the turkey.

There are also quite a few dishes that can be prepped ahead of time. Mashed potatoes can be mashed and mixed the day before and warmed in the oven with some butter the day of the meal. Most desserts can be done ahead of time as well, and at the very least, vegetables can be cut and prepped so that they are ready to be cooked on Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving Day can be busy, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun! Organizing ahead of time helps create a stress-free Thanksgiving, and you’ll be thrilled that you can relax for a moment with family and friends rather than vigorously mashing potatoes before the vegetables boil over. Having an organized day is definitely something that you will be thankful for.