This post is brought to you by a guest contributor.
Easter is an excellent holiday for hosting a meal or party for friends and family. With lots of activities for the kids and a delicious meal planned for the adults, you can keep everyone happy and entertained with a well-planned Easter celebration. With so many things going on in the spring time, it pays to have a plan of action for a stress-free Easter.
Things to do two to three weeks in advance:
1.) Make your guest list: If you are hosting friends or family for a meal or a celebration, plan out your guest list at least a month in advance so that you will have time to mail invitations, create a Facebook event, or make phone calls.
2.) Plan ahead for the meal: Start to consider your menu three or four weeks ahead of time. If you’ve got some Easter classics that are family favorites, be sure you know where those recipes are. If you are interested in trying new things this year, start looking at cooking magazines or spring and Easter themed cookbooks. Think about how you can make your menu seasonal by choosing dishes that use in-season produce. And don’t forget to consider food allergies or other special dietary needs.
3.) Shop ahead as much as you can: Shopping ahead is one of the easiest ways to minimize last-minute stress. Identify the non-perishable ingredients on your shopping list and buy those a week or two ahead of time. Spices, canned foods, and candy, for example, can all be purchased well in advance. Don’t forget candy, coins, or small toys for the Easter eggs!
4.) Plan out the Easter baskets a few weeks in advance: Choosing unique Easter basket gifts and candy can be one of the more fun parts of preparing for Easter. For candy, consider popular favorites like marshmallow peeps and chocolate bunnies, as well as more health-conscious items like dried fruits and nuts. If you choose to personalize your Easter baskets based on the recipient, think about their current hobbies and interests. For example, an action figure for the comic book fan or a pack of tennis balls for the budding athlete. Be sure to leave yourself extra time in assembling the Easter baskets, especially if you will be ordering any items.
5.) Inspect the decorations and dinnerware early: Don’t wait until the night before the party to make sure your dinnerware is clean and polished or to see how your decorations fared through a year in storage. Take everything out a week or two in advance so that you have time to clean or repair any damage or replace items while stores are still selling Easter-themed items.
Things to do the week before:
1.) Prepare your home for guests: Start getting your home ready for your guests at least a week in advance to avoid too much last-minute cleaning. Pay extra attention to guest rooms and guest bathrooms. Check sheets, blankets, pillows, and towels to make sure everything is clean, ironed, and in good condition so that you will have time to replace, clean, or repair anything that is not in good condition.
2.) Buy the rest of your ingredients: Wait to buy the rest of your ingredients for as long as you can so that everything will still be fresh on Easter Sunday. Try to take advantage of any local markets for your produce and meat for an especially sustainable meal. Of course, this might mean shopping a little further in advance if your farmer’s market is not open every day!
3.) Prepare menu items in advance: If you can, prepare some dishes or parts of dishes in advance. For example, some desserts can be frozen for some time, so you might make those well in advance. Also consider chopping vegetables a night or two beforehand. Don’t forget to prepare marinades in advance, as appropriate!
4.) Stuff Easter eggs and prepare your Easter basket: Depending on how elaborate you get with your Easter eggs and Easter baskets, you definitely don’t want to leave these preparations until the last minute.
Things to do the night before:
1.) Hide eggs and put out the Easter baskets: Be careful, though, with placing eggs outside! If you opt for real eggs you may inadvertently attract raccoons and other wildlife. Plastic eggs could pose as a choking hazard for pets as well.
2.) Help the kids lay out their clothes: Make sure there are no holes or stains on anything!
3.) Do last minute early food prep: Make sure anything that can be done in advance has been done. And take out the dinnerware, table cloth, placemats, and napkins to make sure everything is ready for use. But don’t set the table yet, as you don’t want things getting dusty or broken in the morning rush.
4.) Do last minute house prep: Take care of any vacuuming, mopping, and cleaning that you can do in advance. Don’t forget to double check the areas where the guests will be staying!
What are your Easter plans?