When is a Good Time To Begin Holiday Menu Prep?

The Thanksgiving food magazines have arrived in the mail, and my mom is already calling to see if we've booked our flights. For some reason this year, more than others, things are feeling pretty rushed. My first inclination was to hide the food magazines and save them for a time when I was ready to actually think about what we'd cook this year. Then I figured maybe that was just delaying the inevitable. So now I just stare at them on the coffee table wondering, when is the right time to start thinking about holiday menus?While it seems like a crazy question when still in October, there are a few very real factors to think about such as travel plans, invitations, and venue (who is hosting where this year?) Beyond that though, when it comes down to just the food, when do you begin planning? Truthfully if it were really just up to me, I think a few weeks would suffice. But because we're inevitably trying to accomodate different diets and preferences, and fit in all the dishes that varying folks think absolutely must be there for it to feel like Thanksgiving or Christmas ... that's where the planning comes in. And when it comes down to it, the favorites are so often the good old fashioned standards that take little planning in the first place: mashed potatoes, traditional stuffing, and mom's pumpkin pie.

So for now I'm still walking by those holiday magazines on the coffee table, and I haven't yet booked our tickets. But I know both are looming. I may just put one off for a little while longer.

Related: 5 Things to Start Now for Holiday Party Planning

(Image: Emma Christensen)

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