Preparing the Thanksgiving meal can be quite a hassle. A lot of steps go into hosting, but there are a few things you can do to help ease your mind--at least until your weird uncle shows up.

1. Go to the grocery store now.

Most of your side dishes can be prepared ahead of time. Make your list and get what you need now to avoid the last-minute craziness.

2. Thaw the damn turkey!

Depending on the size of your bird, it may take up to five DAYS to thaw in the fridge. It's the star attraction, get ahead start on it now. And don't thaw it on the countertop--bacteria can start to grow after only a few hours at room temperature.

3. Clean the kitchen before you get started.

It'll be easier if you start with a tidy workspace. Same goes for the refrigerator; keep it clean and organized to maximize your shelf space.

4. Delegate!

Odds are, you'll have LOTS of people coming over. It's ok to ask them to help. Stir something, peel potatoes, wash dishes, take the pie out of the oven. Or...you could have a potluck-style meal and ask your guests to bring a dish to pass. Don't be a hero.

5. Stick to the classics.

Holidays are about family traditions. Innovations are fine--introducing new sides/desserts/wines, or adding another main dish such as ham, duck, or prime rib--but now is not the time to ditch the classics altogether. Your guests are expecting the "greatest hits."

Get more helpful Thanksgiving advice HERE and HERE.