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“She prepares her meat and mixed her wine; she has also set her table” (Prov. 9:2, NIV).
 
November requires a new seasonal schedule for most Christian families. We celebrate two of our three very important holidays: Thanksgiving and Christmas.
 
“She” in the above passage is wisdom. It is wisdom to prepare. Preparation is the key to your peace and pleasure as you celebrate your holiday with your family. Our lives are already filled with frenzied activities and time poverty.
 
It seems impossible to add one more thing. For this reason, we have rationalized and oversimplified our approach to these very important family days. The wisdom of the Word tells us the only way we can get the most out of such a special time of the year is to prepare.
 
Let’s begin with Thanksgiving, since it is our first holiday to celebrate.
 
Begin now with your preparation, and ask yourself these smart questions: Where will we eat Thanksgiving dinner? How many persons will be there? What are my responsibilities—to host the dinner, prepare food, take a hostess gift, receive hostess gifts?
 
Answer these questions now and begin. Also let me help you with a practical list if you will be hosting your celebration.
 
Smart Choices for Hostesses
 
1. Create a special environment for your family, the most important people in your lives. Whether you serve your meal on paper plates or grandma’s china, make your home welcoming and memorable for everyone who will be with you. Begin with your front door.
 
2. Prepare your pantry for the additional food items that holidays require.
 
3. Prepare your menus and grocery list. Begin purchasing special holiday ingredients early, several items each week, to avoid the last-minute rush and long lines.
 
4. Wisdom also “sets her table.” Decide what dishes you will use and how to place everyone at a table. You may need to use several tables and more than one set of dishes. Again, prepare. Borrow items that you need from family and friends and purchase in advance what you cannot rent or borrow.
 
5. Prepare your tables two days in advance. This gives you time for creativity and to learn if you have forgotten anything.
 
6. Prepare your serving dishes the day before your dinner. Write on paper the name of the food item that will be served in this dish and place it in the dish. Also choose the utensil that will be needed for each item and place it on that dish. This is good space planning and prevents dinner-day surprises.
 
7. Prepare all food items that need to be diced and chopped several days before your meal preparation. Look at your recipes and dice and chop everything possible. Bag and refrigerate. Set out baking dishes. This will ease your preparation.
 
8. Prepare your gift-wrap area to be organized for wrapping hostess gifts. Make a list of the items that you need. Only buy what you need. Most of us have leftovers from the year(s) before. Use them. Purchase a few items at a time while you are doing your Thanksgiving shopping.
 
9. Prepare and freeze foods that will not be compromised. For example, all dry stuffing ingredients can be combined and frozen in a bag. Bake and crumble your cornbread and crumble your dry bread or bread cubes and add your chopped veggies, dried fruits and seasonings. When you are ready to bake, just add your broth.
 
10. Prepare to enjoy. Relax and plan to have fun. Whatever happens on the day of celebration should not trump the purpose of gathering together—to give thanks.
 
Devi Titus, wife of Larry Titus, is among America’s most recognized Christian conference speakers and authors. She is an award winning communicator with the Washington Press Women’s Association and speaks to multiple thousands annually, both nationally and globally.

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