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By November 17, 2015 18 Comments

Welcome to the third week of the holiday season! My simple holiday strategy is to focus on one main task each week. Remember this: when you focus, you finish! I hope you have been able to devote some time to the tasks of the other two weeks — gifts and cleaning.  

Sometimes we tend to think that an abundance of extra time is going to magically appear just because it is the holiday season! Guess what? Not true! Real life is happening all around us. Maybe we are able to carve out about one extra hour each day for these extra preparations and activities. So do not panic! I will suggest the focus for the week and what needs to be done. The goal is that you will have more peace of mind and not feel overwhelmed or exhausted.

The focus for this week is food! Perhaps you can already imagine the delicious aroma of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. I must admit that I have already enjoyed a tasty pumpkin pie! It is my favorite fall treat. Let’s break down what needs to be done this week.


It is hard to know how much food to fix if you don’t know how many people will be sitting around your table. Please do not be shy about asking your family and guests to bring something for the dinner. It could be a side dish, a dessert, a snack, a bag of ice, or some drinks—whatever is appropriate.


It is so easy to fix too much food! Of course you want to have enough for all of your guests, but often we just randomly keep adding more dishes. We end up being frustrated by the amount of work, the abundance of dishes, and the lack of space. It is easier to be more realistic when you see it all on paper. This may not be the best time to try out an assortment of exotic recipes! Take into consideration your budget, appliances, and space: oven, stove, microwave, crockpot, and refrigerator. Respect those limits.


Take the time to check your recipes and supplies you already have on hand. Again I suggest making written lists. This not only helps you to estimate costs, but it helps you to stay on track in the store. You do not want to just meander around picking up anything that looks good! Everything looks great at this time of year. ☺


I recently read an article by Debtproof Living expert Mary Hunt about buying turkeys. She interviewed a butcher who advised looking for the cheapest, plumpest frozen turkey regardless of the label. He advised that the safest way to thaw it is in the refrigerator in a pan to catch the drips. There will be a better selection this week. You should be able to get the size you want. If you have extra freezer space, you could also buy an extra one to cook in January. If you also buy the nonperishable items on your list this week, you will have a much shorter shopping trip next week!


The written list will rescue you once again! Think about which desserts could be baked ahead of time and stored in the freezer. My mother, two daughters, and I often enjoyed baking days! Sometimes we mixed up several cookie doughs one day and baked them the next. Other times we simply had an assembly line set up with each of us measuring, mixing, baking, or washing dishes! It is so handy to divide up your cookies or desserts on paper plates, slip them into a ziplock bags, and place them in the freezer. Then you can take out just what you need for dinner or for a hospitality gift.

Focusing on these activities and finishing them this week will set the stage for truly enjoying next week!


I am curious to know what is your favorite Thanksgiving dessert:

Pumpkin Pie / Pecan Pie / Apple Pie / Another choice?

Please write your favorite choice in the comments below!

Olive Wagar

Author Olive Wagar

More posts by Olive Wagar

Join the discussion 18 Comments

    • Olive Wagar says:

      Charlene, this must be a Tennessee favorite. I have only made pecan pie 1 time and I’m not sure it was the greatest! But it was very sweet. Hope you have a wonderful holiday with your family. 🙂

  • Melanie Roseberry says:

    Pumpkin pie with a little dab of Cool Whip sounds sounds yummy right now. Mandy also makes a delicious pumpkin roll. Guess what I had with my coffee this morning? Pumpkin bread! I also like pecan pie, but just a thin slice, also with Cool Whip! I am hoping my brother makes my grandfather’s famous Peanut Brittle for the holidays this year. I could go on……

    • Olive Wagar says:

      Melanie, I love everything pumpkin!!!! Isn’t fun with different family members have their own speciality?! Hope you have a delicious holiday. 🙂

  • Rachel Welborn says:

    These simple suggestions are such great guidance for a stress-free holiday!

  • Nancy says:

    GREAT tips concerning the turkey! What a value for the money! I just roasted one last night so I can have some great turkey stock. I love to let the bird thaw out in my refrigerator. NEVER throw away the skin and bones…put those babies in a stockpot with carrots, celery and onion…mmm good! Love your tips, Olive!

    • Olive Wagar says:

      Thanks for your helpful turkey cooking tips, Nancy. You certainly know how to prepare a great holiday feast!! May the day refresh your heart. 🙂

  • Mev says:

    I have to agree with my mom. Pecan pie for me! My sister’s is amazing.

    • Olive Wagar says:

      Seems to be a family favorite, Mev! However, I like pecan snowball cookies better than pecan pie.
      Hope you have a delightful day with your family. I’m thankful for your sweet spirit! 🙂

  • Shirley says:

    My favorite is Pecan but we never make it because i’m the only one in the family that likes it. Pumpkin is the favorite for thanksgiving in my house.

    • Olive Wagar says:

      In that case, I guess you will have to get your pecan pie at a restaurant! I could eat pumpkin pie every month of the year!! Hope your holiday is a happy day!

  • Shirley says:

    Good tips in here and i’m making my store list today so i will make sure i have everything .

    • Olive Wagar says:

      That list is essential during the holidays. The stores have out so many tempting displays and everything smells delicious!! Very easy to come home with a bunch of extra stuff. 🙂

  • Carla B says:

    Pumpkin for me! Happy Thanksgiving!!

    • Olive Wagar says:

      We are in the same pie camp, Carla! Hope you have a wonderful day with your family. Hope to see you at one of my local presentations.

  • Olive,
    You have been such an amazing blessing to so many of us out here in Trying-to-get-organized land. I pray that your Thanksgiving is filled with happy surprises and boundless blessings.

    Thanks for all you do for others,
    P.S. Thanksgiving is not Thanksgiving without Pumpkin pie with Cool Whip!

    • Olive Wagar says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Christina! It seems that pumpkin pie is the reigning favorite!! Thanks also for taking the time to come to the “Wrap Up an Organized Holiday” library presentation!!

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