UNITED STATES—Wow, that’s all I can say. We are literally less than 2 weeks away from one of the biggest holidays of the year: Thanksgiving. I will admit, I love Thanksgiving, and it’s not really just about the food. Let’s be honest, the food is a big part, but the notion of being with family is important. I know I’m NOT the only American who has been separated from family for the past 8 to 9 months.

I would love to get my entire family together for the festive holiday, but with the rising number of cases of COVID-19, and knowing family members who have been diagnosed with the deadly virus survive, and some family members and friends actually die from the virus, that is a risk I am NOT willing to take America. I just cannot take that risk and I am NOT willing to take such a risk and have that on my heart and mind, knowing I could have prevented things.

With that said, this Thanksgiving things will be smaller, more intimate with just immediate family in attendance. To be honest I cannot recall the last time we had Thanksgiving where there was NOT more than 20 to 25 people in attendance. All I can say is that I have a big family and for us family means everything so whenever we can get together, we normally do, especially for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

So with the food heavy holiday sneaking up on us, it is time to get a plan in gear. The first question you should be asking is rather you are hosting or attending a family or friend’s dinner. If you’re hosting, take a deep breathe, because that is a feat that can burn you out quicker than you can think. Look I have hosted the holiday before and this is me actually having to work as well! Let’s just say preparing things in advance is a huge help, but the prep work takes time people.

So if you are hosting, then you have to start to prepare a menu. For 2020, this year has been chaotic, so I would not go balls to the wall with doing more than you have to do. There is already buzz in the supermarket industry that smaller turkeys are expected to hit grocery stores over larger turkeys in past years. I personally am not a turkey person, but if that is your cup of tea go for it. You have to have at least 1 to 2 meats and then you have to start thinking about side dishes.

If you have hosted before cook those dishes that are staples for you. I rarely advocate trying to craft up a dish that you have never cooked before. Why? Thanksgiving is NOT a time to play trial and error when it comes to cooking people. You don’t want to waste money and you don’t want to have a dish that is not a hit with your guests. Then it comes to desserts, I’m a sweet person America, I love a great slice of cake or form of cheesecake, but even I know sweets are bad.

However, you can’t have Thanksgiving without a dessert or two or three or four for your guests. I’d argue at least 2-3 is suitable, now if you’re doing 10 or more, than you could be doing too much in my eyes, but to each is one’s own. Then there is that thing known as the budget. I’ve hosted several times in the past, and I’ve made the mistake of actually not setting a budget and getting to the point where I spend WAY more than I ever expected to spend America. By making a budget it also helps you cut down on wasting money or cooking more dishes than you need to.

If you have people willing to pitch in and to help with cooking, let them help you. Use as many hands on deck as you have for cleaning, decorating, prep work and cooking America, do not be afraid to do what has to be done to ensure you have a Thanksgiving that goes off without any major hiccups.