Ready: Countdown to a Relaxing Seder

Mark Twain once wrote: “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.” If ever there were an exception, it has to be Passover. With so much work to be done, it’s better to start as early as possible. Here is a countdown of activities to help you get a jumpstart on preparing a joyful––and relaxing––Passover Seder:

4 weeks before

  • Determine how many guests are coming and be sure to check whether they have any special dietary requirements
  • Arrange to borrow or rent tables, chairs, wine glasses, dishware, etc., if necessary
  • Check out the grocery store for new menu items and test out the ones that interest you

3 weeks before

  • Decide on your final menu. (Need a Passover dessert idea? Try our Hermits.)
  • Gather all your recipes and make a shopping list of items you’ll need (consider dividing items by perishable and nonperishable if you want to split up shopping trips––and don’t forget to account for any items guests are bringing)
  • Start any special projects (such as making a Matzo bag or pillow rests with the children)

2 weeks before

  • Start shopping for non-perishable staples, such as matzo, horseradish, wine and grape juice
  • Place any necessary orders with the butcher
  • Polish silverware and iron table linen
  • Think about seating arrangements and create place cards if you wish to have a more formal Seder

1 week to 1 day before

  • Shop for perishable items, such as meat and vegetables (don’t forget flowers for the centerpiece, if necessary)
  • Tip: to save money on bagged ice, start making your own cubes and placing them in a freezer bag early in the week
  • Prepare as many dishes ahead of time as possible, including baked items
  • Gather serving bowls at least a day in advance (consider labeling each with a post-it note indicating its purpose––and be sure to match up a serving utensil for each)
  • Fill your salt and pepper shakers
  • Assemble all the settings you’ll need and set the table as far in advance as possible

Passover Shopping List

  • Candles
  • Matzo
  • Matzo meal and farfel
  • Grape juice and/or wine (enough for 4 glasses per person)
  • Gefilte fish
  • Horseradish
  • Parsley or lettuce
  • Eggs
  • Charoset ingredients (such as Apples, Walnuts and Cinnamon)
  • A Shankbone
  • Kosher salt
  • Salad and salad dressing
  • Ingredients for first course, such as Matzo ball soup
  • Ingredients for main course
  • Ingredients for side dishes
  • Ingredients for dessert (such as cake meal or potato starch)
  • Condiments
  • Cooking spray
  • Tea and coffee
  • Flowers for centerpiece
  • A small Afikoman gift (the gift for finding the hidden Matzo)