Thanksgiving Planning with SkyDrive

SkyDrive_rgb_Blue2728Fall is, by far, my favorite time of year. It reminds me of my years playing snare drum in the Marching Illini. The air clarifies, the pace of life eases, my patio door stops sticking. In college, the best time of year (besides the end of finals) was fall break for one simple reason: you got to go home and stuff yourself silly with food. Now that I’m an adult with my own family, there is no fall break. In fact, Thanksgiving turns into an onslaught of family, food, and stress.

Home For the Holidays

My wife and I started hosting Thanksgiving at our house when we got married six years ago. The first year, we’d just gotten back from our honeymoon and imagined our house looking something out of the pages of Martha Stewart Living magazine. Instead, since we didn’t have a dining room table, we cobbled together an IKEA special and a card table to make do. We didn’t have enough formal place settings, so some people ended up eating on plastic ware. Martha would not have called it a “good thing”.

A couple years later, before our first daughter was born, we got serious about planning for Thanksgiving and started using SkyDrive and OneNote to plan the weekend. Before we used SkyDrive to stay organized, we were constantly wondering what we had missed. Handwritten notes around the house didn’t help when we were out buying preparations and wondering, “Did we already buy cranberries?”

[caption id=“attachment_1259” align=“alignnone” width=“800”] Our Thanksgiving Table[/caption]

Getting Started

Now that we have two kids, I wanted to get a big jump start this year to say well ahead of the game. So, I went to where we have a shared folder called “Team Savoy”. Inside that folder, I created a new OneNote document and called it “Thanksgiving 2012”.

Getting It Done

There are three main parts to planning a successful Thanksgiving: Menu, Shopping, and To Dos. So, I created a page for each of those big deals. We have our Thanksgiving planning documents for the past 3 years stored in SkyDrive already, so I referred to them for initial inspiration and started filling in the blank pages.

After I created the document I told my wife about it. The next day, I checked in to see if she had added anything and immediately regretted telling her about it. It’s like I straight up asked, “Hey…can you write down a big list of stuff for me to work on?”

Nom nom nom

Our family of four doesn’t demand a lot of food for any given day, but when my wife’s family descends upon the house, it’s best to be prepared and know exactly what’s going to happen each day they are there. To that end, our OneNote planning document includes a day-by-day and meal-by-meal breakdown of each meal and what’s entailed. We will have prepared this list weeks in advance to ensure that all of the groceries are purchased.

Despite what mega-grocery stores would like you to believe, stocking up for a Thanksgiving weekend does not happen in one place. We end up driving all over town to get stuff at different stores. The only way to do this without going crazy is to have the grocery list broken down by store. Beyond that, I like to have the grocery list ordered by the aisle. That way there’s no double backing because you forgot something in the produce section when you’re all the way in the toothpaste aisle.

Let’s Do This!

I’ve shared my OneNote notebook publicly, so if you want to download it and use it for yourself, feel free. Let me know how it works out for you.

Thanksgiving is the kick-off of the holidays and I love it.  It can be stressful, for sure, but knowledge is power in this holiday battle. We’ve discovered that planning well in advance is the key to our success and by using SkyDrive and OneNote, we can plan wherever inspiration strikes us. Keeping everything in SkyDrive means that we’re never left wondering what’s for dinner or what to buy while at the store. Give it a try and have fun this Thanksgiving.