Coordinate kitchen space. Guzman says hosts should be realistic about their oven and stovetop space. "If you ask someone to bring a casserole, instruct them to bring it cooked if you have one oven," he says. "It can always be put back in the oven for a few minutes while the turkey rests, but you might not have oven space to dedicate to two or three unexpected dishes for an hour before dinner."
Don't overlook the total time it takes to pull off a turkey. Don't just add "turkey" to your list of foods to prepare. "Figure out how you plan to cook, season and serve the turkey," Moore says. "Planning those details in advance helps you not to miss small but important details." If the turkey needs brined, make the time to do that in addition to thawing.
Buy some items instead of making them. Moore recommends purchasing frozen cranberries, then cooking and mixing them with canned cranberry sauce. Guzman suggests buying items to complement the main course. "Dessert is a great place to take advantage of a favorite bakery, pies from the farmers markets or orchards," he says.
Source local ingredients. Both chefs recommend shopping at farmers markets throughout the year, including the holiday season. Guzman says in addition to fresh produce, look for meal add-ons at the farmers market. "As I visit festivals and farmers markets in the fall," he says, "I will also pick up apple butters, spice blends and other finds I might come across there to complement my menu."
Add something new to your table to make it more festive. Guzman suggests exploring the region's arts and crafts festivals, "which might be the perfect place to pick up a new serving platter, bowl or pitcher."
For more ideas about gifts, decorating, where to eat and what to do, check out our complete Atlanta Holiday Guide.