The holiday season officially kicks off next week with Thanksgiving, a holiday that’s all about togetherness and gratitude. When everything comes together, at the risk of sounding corny, you will feel the much-touted warmth of family and friends gathered together “as the fates allow.” This is a time when even home sellers and buyers take a break and celebrate the season. A great Thanksgiving has a lot of moving parts, and it’s really not a one-person job. You’ll want decorations, a tablescape worthy of the ‘Gram, and of course, delicious food. To make sure that everything goes off without a hitch, avoid these common Thanksgiving mistakes. One of these wrong moves and your holiday will be more akin to a disaster. 

“I didn’t set a timer. Oops.”

Look, nobody wants to eat a blackened bird. Undoubtedly this is not your first time roasting a turkey, making scratch gravy, or baking your famous pumpkin/apple/pecan pie. This isn’t meant to imply otherwise. However, for the love of cheese, SET A TIMER. Even the most talented cooks among us can get distracted or slip up in remembering the perfect moment to take your culinary creations out of the oven or off the burner, so go ahead and use either an egg timer or your oven’s clock. If you have multiple dishes going at once, have someone dedicate their phone to setting a series of alarms. 

Toddler “fun” gone wrong

Okay, so you think you’re ahead of the game. You’ve got little kids coming over for the big day, and you coordinated a craft for them to keep busy while the adults are schmoozing, day-drinking, and watching football - not to mention cooking! IT may seem redundant since there are so many sets of eyes around, but designate a babysitter to watch the kids at play. For example, it takes a split second for adorable turkey finger painting projects to go sideways. Next thing you know, your drapes are streaked in Crayola’s finest. Just be sure to keep diligent when there are small kids underfoot.

Pinterest fails strike at the dessert table!

Fanciful food ideas that you find online (it’s not only Pinterest, but that app is the main offender) are often traps waiting to ensnare you in frustration and failure as you simply cannot recreate the whimsy and beauty of the picture you’re studying. There’s a reason that “Pinterest fail” blogs exist and thrive. For example, your pie is already great with a plain crust, or even a lattice if you are feeling fancy. Those individual fall leaves made of crust look darling, but they take FOREVER - time that you need to work on other elements of dinner prep. And just say “no” to turkey cake pops. They look deceptively easy, but the fact is that tempering the chocolate just right and getting the quirky accessories to stick is a real pain. Here’s a tip: buy a couple of those cult-favorite pumpkin pies at Walmart, or stick to something reliable, like a tower of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. Don’t make more, frustrating work for yourself.