New Haven (WTNH) - Thanksgiving is just a couple weeks away. Take the stress out of
preparing for the big turkey dinner with a dash of pre-planning and
a splash of Thanksgiving organizing!
Lisa Lelas, professional organizer and owner of Life Styling
in Guilford, was back this morning to give us some valuable tips to
make this Thanksgiving holiday hassle-free.
Here are the tips Lisa gave on the show:
1. Scour your favorite cookbooks or, better yet, favorite
family recipes. Decide on your menu and plan to make as many
"make-ahead meals" as you can, such as side dishes and desserts
that can be refrigerated at least a couple days ahead of the family
dinner party. The idea is to be with your guests, not alone in the
2. Plan for seating. Even if you need to set up a table in
family room, as well as the dining room and kitchen, using matching
table linens throughout the home will bring all the dining tables
together. Local rental companies can drop off extra tables &
chairs if needed, or be creative and make a bigger table by placing
an old door or plywood over a smaller table.
3. Set up a crafts/games area for children. Kids may not want
to linger at the dinner table or watch football on TV. Have things
ready for them such as coloring books & crayons, play dough,
construction paper & popsicle sticks (for turkey puppets) or
cloves and oranges to make popular pomander holiday gifts.
4. Create an easy centerpiece. A simple glass bowl filled
with fruit is a beautiful statement about the bounty of
Thanksgiving food. Add a few lit candles and your tabletop will be
5. Use subtle decorations. Basic wire ribbon can be tied to
the back of each dining chair or even around the stem of the water
glass to enhance the festivities.
6. Set up a self-serve coffee & dessert bar. It can be
set up on a side table or buffet, or use one section of the kitchen
counter. Have tea, coffee & hot cider with eating utensils,
dessert plates and pies and cookies ready for guests to help
themselves throughout the day after the dinner.
7. Extend gratitude. Don't forget what Thanksgiving and the
upcoming holiday season really means. This year at the holiday
dinner table, pass around a gratitude journal for guests to fill
out what they are most grateful for.
8. Start a new tradition, such as a gratitude table runner,
whereby family & friends sign it and share their gratitude and
add to it year after year. Or, go to movies together to catch an
early release of a new holiday flick.
9. Cherish family memories. Dust off an old family photo
album and place it on your family room coffee table from
Thanksgiving to New Year's Day as a nostalgic conversation piece
for holiday guests and your immediate family throughout the season.
10. Remember those less fortunate. Thanksgiving is a day to
reflect, be grateful, and giving. Invite a lonely neighbor over for
dinner or bring a hot plate of food to someone you know isn't
feeling well. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or donate a frozen turkey
to a local food drive in your community if you can. Make this the
Thanksgiving you'll never forget!
For more tips from Lisa Lelas, visit her website at