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Our Best Thanksgiving Holiday Hosting Tips

Hosting Tips for Thanksgiving

November 14, 2023

Hosting family and friends for the Thanksgiving holiday is a wonderful way to celebrate the season and bring people together. However, the lead-up to the big day can be stressful, whether you're a first-time host or a seasoned holiday hostess. That's why we've compiled a list of top tips and tricks to help you host your loved ones with ease and make your Thanksgiving holiday a memorable one:

Tip #1: Start Early

Planning and preparation are crucial to hosting a successful Thanksgiving lunch or dinner. It's not just about the food - you should also begin early with the non-food preparations. A week before the event, take out your platters, serving bowls, and utensils, and label them. This will make it easier to transfer food from the stove to the table on Thanksgiving Day. You can also prepare the table by laying out the tablecloth, washing the dinner plates and utensils, and making place cards for your guests. Involving your family in these preparations can make it feel more special and enjoyable for everyone. By starting early and being organized, you can ensure a stress-free and foolproof Thanksgiving celebration.

Tip #2: Accept Help When Offered

Nothing ensures a more stressful Thanksgiving than biting off more than you can chew. When friends and family offer to help throughout the day, or before — be sure to take them up on their offer. If your neighbor offers to swing by the store to bring a few bottles of wine, take them up on it. If your grandmother wants to still bring over her famous stuffing — yes, please! Even when your guests offer to help clean up or wash dishes, there’s never a better time to take the help while keeping the conversation going. It’s the season of giving and fostering community, so don’t forget to return the favor if you’re able to.

Tip #3: Make a Timeline

If you have experience hosting Thanksgiving dinner, you know that creating a timeline is crucial for a successful meal. If you only have one oven and four burners, it can be challenging to organize the cooking process effectively. To avoid last-minute chaos, count backward from the time you plan to serve dinner and schedule prep time and oven time accordingly. You can create a list and stick it on the fridge or any visible place. Another helpful tip? Be sure to set timers on your phone for key times involved in your meal. For example, set a timer for when you need to put the turkey in the oven.

Tip #4: Make Room in Your Fridge Before Thanksgiving

When you have hosted Thanksgiving before, you know how quickly refrigerator space becomes limited. Whether it's the food you've prepped in advance, the large turkey that's brining, or the dishes that are ready to be placed in the oven, space becomes a prized commodity during Thanksgiving. A week before Thanksgiving, do your best to use up any leftovers and empty any almost-empty condiment bottles. You can also transfer leftovers to freezer zipper bags and store them in your freezer. You can freeze spaghetti noodles and sauce, chili, pulled pork, lasagna, cooked chicken, and many other leftovers in labeled Ziploc bags in your freezer with great success!

Tip #5: Don't Overlook The Beverages

Often overlooked, beverages are an important part of any gathering. Set the tone by offering your guests something to drink when they arrive. Remember to stock non-alcoholic choices for children or those who don’t want to drink. A fun, seasonal option would be to make a big slow-cooker full of spiced cider served with bourbon or rum on the side for those who prefer to have a little kick. Having the kids fill glasses with ice at the table, plus pour water or tea at each place setting is a great way to get the whole family involved. They will love being useful during the gathering and it helps take one item off your plate! As a reminder, beverages are always a great way for your guests to help prior to Thanksgiving dinner. If they offer, have them bring a bottle of wine, a gallon of tea, or their soft drinks of choice.

Tip #6: Sit Back and Enjoy Yourself

Hosting can be a stressful task, filled with planning and preparation to get your home ready for family and guests. However, the most important tip for enjoying the holiday season is to take the time to savor the joy it brings. As a hostess, it's important to plan some time for yourself to get ready, put on your favorite Thanksgiving outfit, and relax. When your family is gathered around the table, playing football outside, or just lounging in your home, take a moment to appreciate the time spent together and share what you are thankful for during the holiday.