Want to be a holiday hero? Start planning for Thanksgiving now!

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TOLEDO, Ohio (13abc Action News) - Thanksgiving should be a holiday everyone can enjoy with family and friends, but too often it turns into a stress fest. What to make? Who to invite? Where did the time go?

The solution? Start planning and preparing now.

Every Wednesday from now until the day before Thanksgiving, 13abc will provide you with tips and advice to help you make this an easy holiday that you can enjoy.

So, what should you be doing three weeks before the big day? .

First, figure out who you'd like to invite. Once you have a guest list, you can plan for how much you'll have to prepare in the kitchen. And, don't be afraid to ask for help. Contact people on your list, ask them what menu item they'd like to cook and bring to dinner. Once you know that, you can prepare for what you'll need in your kitchen, and come up with a menu.

That includes making a shopping list of ingredients and special items you'll need. That includes perishables and non-perishables. Some canned items may actually cost less now, so you may want to buy them in advance.

Planning on a fresh turkey? Then you'll want to order that now, too. Many fresh poultry purveyors have all of their Thanksgiving orders booked well in advance. If you want a fresh bird, start looking now.

Make a to-do list. That means taking a look at things you need to do around the house to host the big event. Set up time to do those chores, or assign them to members of your family.

If you plan on using special linens like tablecloths or napkins, get them cleaned and ironed now. That way they'll be ready when the day gets here, and there won't be any last minute panic if you find out you have stains or wrinkles in those linens.

Check your china and your glassware. Special occasions often mean using the the special dishes. Have them washed and ready.

Consider what you'd like to do for decorations. It may be as simple as a centerpiece for the table. Now is the time to order it, or start making it on your own. Maybe involve your children or grandchildren in the process.

Speaking of children, ask them what they'd like on the menu, too. Then, set aside time to work with them in the kitchen to practice that special menu item they'd like. It'll make them feel involved, and give you valuable time with the young people in your life.

Is there a recipe that your family cherished for years that may not have been on the table in recent celebrations? Now would be the time to contact relatives for those recipes, or research them on your own, to reintroduce the tradition.

The key to the holiday is being able to enjoy it. So often, hosts are too busy making sure that everything is perfect for their guests and families, that they can't have a good time themselves.

Planning early, and then taking care of what needs to be done at a more relaxed pace takes some of the stress out of holiday preps. It also gives you the chance to actually enjoy the process, and puts you in a position to make your Thanksgiving great, while enjoying the day.

More tips and advice to make you a "Holiday Hero" next Wednesday.