We’ve all been around for an unnecessarily stressful Thanksgiving. The turkey’s taking forever, the mashed potatoes are missing, and… what’s that burning smell? If you’re hosting for the holidays, chances are you want to avoid these pitfalls and run your ship as smoothly as possible. And we’re here to tell you – it is possible! Prepare for an emergency-free, fun and connected feast by following these kitchen-prepping tips:

Clean Deep
You’ve cleaned your kitchen before, but before the big event make sure to do a sweep in places you usually pass over. Under the oven, refrigerator shelves, burners, and those tiny spaces between your cabinet should be swept, spritzed, and freshened up. Finally, the big one: clean your oven, or enlist a family member to earn their dinner and do it for you! The oven is the star appliance of the holidays, and you want to be sure it’s fully ready for the main event.

Stock Up
While you prepare your grocery list, noting ingredients for your main menu items, double-check that you have the small stuff too. Pantry staples like garlic and onion powder, flour, cooking oils, dried seasonings, tomato paste, and vinegar get a lot more day-of use than you might think. Also be sure that you have plenty of the important non-food items on hand, like aluminum foil, batteries, dish soap, garbage bags, and napkins.

Gear Check
After cleaning and stocking your kitchen, it’s time to see how well-equipped you are for the actual cooking! You’ll want a variety of pot sizes, a casserole dish or two, and of course a great big pan for the turkey. Alexian pro tip for busy hosts: take this moment to treat yourself to a specialty appliance you’ve always wanted, like a kitchen mixer or extravagant apple peeler. The big day will be a lot of work, and you deserve the everyday joy of getting something nice for yourself!

Set the Counters
As the main event approaches, you may be feeling more like a professional chef than a home cook. Lean into that boss energy, and prep your kitchen like they do at Michelin restaurants! Take a head count of how many helpers you’ll have, then clear out some designated counter stations for them to work at. If you set the necessary ingredients out ahead of time, your helpers will be less likely to bother you with “where’s this and that” questions throughout the day.

Even if you don’t get to everything on the above list, if you’ve read this article that means you’re already ahead of the game! Above all else, enjoy the process and don’t let the little things get to you. Good luck, and Happy Thanksgiving!