Tips for Thanksgiving Shopping

The markets bulge with great-looking food this time of year - and lots of other shoppers. Here's how to make your holiday grocery shopping less stressful and more enjoyable.

By FamilyTime

 If there was ever a time to organize your shopping lists and plan your time, it is not. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and the more you prepare, the easier it will be. You may change your mind on the precise menu later, but try to decide big questions now. Will you bake pies and bread, for example, roast a fresh or frozen turkey, make or buy cranberry sauce?

Consider doing some shopping at local bakeries, specialty stores, and green grocers. The food will be fresher and the lines shorter.

Shopping Lists
Make a master shopping list and break it down into three sub-lists. Several trips to the market will make the overall chore more manageable.
List one: for shopping two or three weeks before Thanksgiving.
List two: for shopping the weekend before Thanksgiving.
List three: for shopping the Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Organize the lists by category or supermarket aisle so that you aren't running all over the store.  

You can count on the stores to position holiday staples such as stuffing mix, cranberry sauce, and bags of pecans in strategic locations.

List One
Buy as many nonperishible items as you can. These include non-edible items such as candles, coffee filters, cocktail napkins, paper towels and aluminum foil.

Buy flour, baking powder, sugar, coffee, cans of pumpkin puree and cranberry sauce, spices and frozen vegetables. Buy beverages now, such as mixers and soda. Replenish the liquor cabinet.

If you are buying a frozen turkey, buy it now to get the best selection.

List Two
This list will include foods such as stuffing mix, onions, squash, potatoes, garlic, lemons, limes, apples, cranberries and cheese, eggs, and cream.

Don't forget juice, cider, beer, and wine.

List Three
This is the last-minute list for those foods that must be impeccably fresh. There should be only a few entries on this list, such as: the turkey (if it's fresh), milk, salad greens, green beans, seafood, fruit, bakery pies and rolls.

Careful planning should mean that this list is short and sweet, and you will get in and out of the market quickly.

Before You Leave for the Market…
Clean out your kitchen shelves, refrigerator, and freezer. Discard half-eaten boxes of stale crackers, week-old tuna salad, and empty ice cream cartons.

This way, when you unpack the groceries, there will be ample room to store them. There also will be room in the freezer for the turkey.

…And When You Return
Unpack the groceries as soon as you get home. Check them off the list.

Make a second list of where you store what, and when you plan to use it. Keeping a schedule will insure success.