This past weekend I worked on our Thanksgiving Day "game plan" so I thought I'd write about that topic a little ...
(Or maybe a lot if I get carried away, as you all know I'm apt to do.)
Because Earlybird doesn't do that well with multiple-stop shopping (though he's gotten SO much better with shopping overall), I usually run my weekly errands when Bill's home from work. Typically, this would be Saturday and/or Sunday. (I really prefer not to shop on Sundays, but sometimes it can't be helped.) To make the best use of my time (and our money) I try to have a menu plan in place for the coming week, my coupons all sorted, and a detailed shopping list broken down into an itinerary.**
So I set out Saturday morning to shop - list in hand, gas in tank, coffee in cup holder. It takes up a good chunk of my day, but I like getting most of it done in one fell swoop, and, to be honest, I kind of think of it as "me time," lol. (There are still a couple of quick marketing trips with EB through the week.)
In the case of Thanksgiving, however, I'm going to have to split things up a bit!
Thanksgiving, after all, is the biggest "family dinner" of the year. There's just so much to plan and prepare! We need to order a turkey! Do we want a farm-raised turkey? We'd better check the pantry! Do we have the spices that make the cranberry relish so good? Are we trying some new side dishes this year? And how about pies - what do we need for the pies? Are we making pies? Buying pies? Assigning pies? :)
These are all good things to think about this month - and for obvious reasons, it's preferable to think about them earlier in the month rather than later. Today is November 8th - I'd say it's time to think about them!
So, while I am still working on my menu (we're expecting 18 this year!), I have planned out my "Turkey Day" shopping itinerary. I have done this carefully, because for one thing, I am limited on time, and for another, I don't want to be out there when everyone else is out there, fighting for cranberries and yams. So after considering my rather lengthy list - and consulting with my mum - I determined I need to do a combination shop - stopping at the local farm, a Whole Foods market, as well as my regular supermarket.
~ The boys and Mum and I will drive out to the farm one weekday morning next week (aka field trip!). Here we'll get keepers like local cranberries, apples, pears, squash and the like. We'll most likely pick up a few random "gourmet" items that catch our eye.
~ Our Whole Foods visit will take place the weekend before Thanksgiving. Very early that Saturday morning - I'm talking 7 a.m. - we'll head over to WF's and here we'll buy our natural food stuffs. A lot of what Earlybird can have I'll buy here - as well as special treats for the kids after-dinner. (Hammonds natural candy canes have become a post-turkey-dinner tradition. We might try pumpkin spice this year!)
~ The Tuesday before the big day, I'll pick up our free-range turkey from the farmstand down the street. They officially closed for the season on Halloween, but they open back up on this day to pass out the turkey orders. It feels good to support a local farmer and it's nice to know our turkey will have led a (relatively) long, happy life. :)
~ My regular market shopping (for basic dinner staples) will happen very early in the morning the day before Turkey Day (again, we're talking 7 a.m.!). Bill has that day off from work, so I'll run out bright and early to get the remaining things we need for our dinner. Then I'll head back home to bake ... and clean and cook and iron, etc.!
~ Also, I will send Bill out to the liquor store on this day to buy any spirits we'll need. We generally offer beer and wine at Thanksgiving dinner, but we also like to serve one "signature" cocktail for each holiday we host. Last Easter it was an "Easter Bunny Cocktail" and last Christmas we served "Candy Cane Cosmos." We haven't decided on this year's special drink yet ... but I'll be sure to let you all know!
Ok, so there are my notes and thoughts on holiday dinner shopping. This framework holds true for Easter and to a certain extent, Christmas, too. It might seem like a lot, but by thinking ahead and carefully planning out those lists, the shopping should be relatively quick and enjoyable. (Plus I'm keeping better track of my spending.) Generally speaking, if I'm not rushing about or fighting the crowds, I actually enjoy my marketing days!
(Oh, and the "**" above was to say, I have a follow-up post in the works about my overall menu planning and marketing routine. I hope to get that up sometime later this week.)
In the meantime, I hope you all have a nice Tuesday. The weather is going to be beautiful here in New England today - warm and sunny! - but we'll be taking things slow. I have a couple of kids fighting head colds, and one of them (my poor EB) was actually sick to his stomach this morning. So needless to say, I have a little extra laundry to do ...
I'll see you again soon, my friends ... stay well and be safe!