Tips and Tricks For a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

We all know the feeling. That pang of stress and dread that hits you when you realize your Thanksgiving to-do list is growing longer by the day. While you may feel like you’re going to spend more time in the kitchen than with your family, we’ve got some tips and tricks to make this holiday stress-free. Take some tasks off your plate this Thanksgiving by picking up some dinner items in advance. You don’t have to do it all, and Willow Park Village is your one-stop-shop for holiday preparations.


Seriously, who has the time to make bread from scratch? If you’re looking for some soft, buttery buns to soak up gravy left on the plate – this is the perfect time saver. Cobs has an assortment of buns from classic white bread, to hearty multigrain, along with seasonal loaves tailor made for the season. Every product is made fresh each morning, giving Grandma a run for her money.

Pro tip: Buy the buns a few days before dinner and put them in the freezer to avoid the Thanksgiving weekend rush. Simply take them out to defrost the day of your dinner. For added comfort, cover your buns and place them in the oven just before dinner for 10 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit so the butter will melt when your guests dig in.


Charcuterie boards are trendy and easy to make. This social appetizer will keep your guests buzzing in the kitchen and a new type of cheese is a great conversation starter. Springbank Cheese Company has dozens of unique cheeses, and with the stroke of a knife your platter is ready to go. If you’re looking for a host gift, you can always order a delicious gift basket at any price point in advance.

Pro-tip: Grab some olives and speciality crackers while you’re at the store to bring your charcuterie to the next level. If you’re stuck on what type of cheese to try, ask a staff member for their favourite recommendation.


If you’re worried about finishing side dishes in time, Meez Cuisine has you covered. You can pick up pre-made mashed potatoes blended with fresh sour cream and locally sourced potatoes ready for the oven. If you’re feeling fancy, try a 4 pack of potato gratin. This spin on a classic side dish features layers of potatoes, onions, and cheese slow roasted to perfection in your own home.

Pro tip: Meez also makes stuffing & gravy, which could save you hours of prep time.


When it comes to dessert, you’re probably thinking pie. Why not switch it up this year with Crave Cookies & Cupcakes?  This homey bakery has a special Thanksgiving menu complete with mini pumpkin pie tarts and pumpkin spice cupcakes. Since many people feel stuffed after the big meal, you can offer a spread of minis to satisfy a sweet tooth without busting buttons. There’s also gluten-free options available if you have dietary allergies or restrictions.

Pro tip: Call and place your order in advance to avoid disappointment or waiting in line.


When your guests start to arrive, it’s nice to have some snacks and appetizers ready to go. M&M Meat Shops has a huge selection of delicious appetizers from mini quiches, to bacon-wrapped scallops. It’s an easy and stress-free way to keep your guests happy while the rest of the meal is being prepared.

Pro tip: Make sure you read the instructions before planning frozen appetizers, some bites can take up to 30 minutes to cook. Check all the boxes the night before so you can time your snacks to come out of the oven right on time.


There’s nothing like a fresh bouquet of fall flowers to give your dinner décor the perfect finishing touch. Blooms and Butterflies flower shop has a number of beautiful autumn arrangements to accent your dinner table. It’s also a great host gift if you’re heading to someone’s dinner party. Each arrangement is handmade to order, so talk to a florist about your favourite fall colours and flowers.

Pro tip: Place a vase of flowers at your entrance way to set a warm tone as your guests come in. If you want an arrangement for your dinner table, try to pick something that sits low so your guests can still see each other.

For more great hosting ideas, stop by the shops at Willow Park Village at 10816 Macleod Trail, SW in Calgary. And don’t worry when you see a bit of construction at the Village. All stores are open and operating business-as-usual while we give them a brand new look.


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*Note: Each business has different hours. You can find the business hours on each of our individual business pages.