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9 Life-Changing Thanksgiving Hacks To Save Your Sanity On This Stressful Holiday

Whether it’s your first time running the Turkey Day show or you're a veteran hostess who wants to cut down on prep time, Thanksgiving hacks are a must-have come holiday time. These shortcuts can help keep the meal prep quick, easy, and efficient, while still producing delicious results. After all, Thanksgiving is about spending time with loved ones not waiting for the water to boil.

By implementing a few simple Thanksgiving hacks, you will have time to make fluffy stuffing, tasty turkey, and plenty of pies to please your guests without sacrificing your sanity. Some of it involves cutting back where you can (is a whole turkey really necessary for just three people?) as well as doing some prep work before the big day (you know you could set up the centerpieces the night before.) Overall, these tips will help you serve up a totally delicious meal without a lot of sweat and stress. So go knock out that turkey and get ready to make some holiday memories with your closest friends and family. This could be your best Thanksgiving yet. And remember — in the worst case scenario, you can always just order a pizza.

1. Downsize The Bird

If your Thanksgiving party is a more intimate affair, opt for a turkey breast instead of an entire bird. It will require less prep work for you, but still provide plenty of food fora small group.

2. Add Soy Sauce To Your Gravy

Everything's better with some yummy umami flavor. Follow this tip from Buzzfeed and add a splash of soy sauce to your gravy a flavor boost. And when your guests rave about the gravy, you can be all coy about the secret ingredient that’s more associated with sushi than turkey.  

3. Stock Up On Stock

The New York Times advises you keep chicken stock simmering on the stovetop while you’re cooking, as it can quickly save a dish. Ladle some warm stock over your sliced turkey just before serving for a super-juicy entree or ass a splash to your stuffing.

4. Prep The Table On Thanksgiving Eve

Go ahead and set the table the night before Thanksgiving. It will be one less task on the day of, and your guests will be treated to an inviting table whenever they arrive.

5. Keep It Hot

If your oven is taken over by turkey duty, you can keep side dishes warm by storing them in the (turned-off) microwave or an empty cooler, according to Real Simple. And the gravy? Stick it in an insulated thermos.

6. Portion Appropriately

Keep this advice from Time in mind and create realistic dinner portions for your guests to minimize food waste and save some money when grocery shopping. Even if you cut back significantly, chances are there will still be plenty of leftovers for days.

7. Offer Snacks

To avoid hangry people swarming your kitchen, offer up some snacks for your guests to munch on while the main dishes finish cooking. A crudite plate -- or even some crackers and hummus -- can go a long way in preserving the peace.

8. Butter Your Bird

To make a better Thanskgiving turkey, rubbing butter all over the skin. This creates a crispy, golden skin that will make guests' mouths water.

9. Delegate Responsibility

While you’re finishing up the main meal, let your guests pitch in by fixing drinks or assembling a great playlist. More help means less wait time for dinner, and guests are usually eager to lend a hand anyway. They’re just thankful to have a full feast at the ready!

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