By Jenny Everett, SELF magazine
Thanksgiving can't come soon enough (we always look forward to seeing family, friends and having a day or two off of work!) but, at the same time, it's coming way too quickly (there's so much to do before then!).
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The good news is that if you start planning now, T-Day doesn't have to be so stressful. Though it's still T minus 16 days until go-time, here are some small things you can do this week to get a jump on planning and make sure things go as smoothly as possible.
1. Plan Your Menu: Use SELF's Nutrition Data tool to analyze the nutritional value of your Thanksgiving faves (it's a holiday, so splurge in some places, but make up for it by choosing, say, healthy side dishes or a fruit-based dessert), then use this cool menu-planning tool from our friends at Epicurious to finalize your menu.
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2. Place Orders Now: Most grocery stores and gourmet food joints are already taking orders for turkey, pies and any other items that you don't feel like DIY-ing. Get your name on the Turkey Day list now so you don't need to freak out at the last minute. And, if your turkey is frozen, figure out when you'll need to start defrosting and mark it on the calendar (figure one day in the fridge for every 4 pounds of turkey, according to the gurus at "Cook's Illustrated").
3. Settle on Seating: If you're hosting a big group -- especially if it's a mix of family and friends -- figuring out where everyone is going to sit can be more than a little stressful (you don't want your outspoken liberal college friend next to your conservative uncle!). Use this handy tool to plan seating in advance.
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4. Start With a Soup: It's a perfect first course, not only because it's comforting as temps dip, but also because it freezes well. Make it now, stick it in the freezer and you have one less thing to think about on Turkey Day. Simply heat over the stovetop while the turkey is cooking.
5. Sign up for a Turkey Trot: If you want to have the energy to make it through the day, the patience to be the hostess with the mostess and feel guilt-free the about that big ol' slice of pumpkin cheesecake, sign up to do a Turkey Trot. Click here to find one near year you, or organize your own a.m. walk/run with a group of friends.
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Photo Credit: Condé Nast Digital Studio