lilcis wrote:I'm also using my china for the first time, so it will be interesting to see how that works out with all the kids. Luckily, they're all older - 5 to 13 . . . but I do have stone floors . . . so we'll see how it goes.
It should be ok if the plates are already on the table and the food will be served at the table. The main thing with kids is spilled drinks, which is why I usually serve water at parties where young kids will be in attendance. Thanksgiving is another story though. Just decide what you don't mind being spilled onto carpet/rugs/linens if it should happen.
lilcis wrote: I'm not planning to buy my turkey until tomorrow or Monday (is that too late?) and I'm going to brine it.
It depends on the size of the turkey. Usually, to make sure the turkey is all the way thawed, I thaw it in cold water the day prior for a couple hours, changing the water every half hour. But that's just me, I want to make sure the turkey is thawed.
lilcis wrote: The apple pie I'll make while the turkey is cooking, and then through it in the oven after dinner so that we can have dessert a couple hours later.
Are you making the pie filling from scratch? If so, you can make the filling days beforehand and then dump it into your pie crust right before baking. The less you gotta do on the actual cooking day, the better!
Delegate parts of the mashed potatoes process. It helps people feel useful and keeps you interacting with *someone* instead of being isolated in a corner of the kitchen facing the counter.
My last tip is if you are using table linens, spray the stains on the tablecloths and napkins with Shout or SprayNWash after the dinner before pulling them off the tables. It is easier to see them while they are out on the tables than trying to remember where you need to spray once you're in the laundry room.
Good luck! Hosting Thanksgiving IS fun!