Entertaining Holiday

Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner 101

Holidays can always be a little stressful, but Thanksgiving in particular can be especially demanding for a host who wants to ensure that all of their guests are enjoying themselves. Do everything you can to make sure the evening runs smoothly by following some of these tips below:

Know (and Prepare For) Your Guests

When preparing for Thanksgiving dinner, you should narrow down the list of people you want to invite to close friends and family. Take into consideration what the chemistry between each group will be so that you increase the chances of everyone getting along well. You should also coordinate with your guests so as to determine who will be staying over for the night, giving you significant time to prepare guest bedrooms and couches. Lastly, find out whether or not anyone with food allergies or other specific dietary restrictions will be in attendance so that you can offer them alternatives and ensure that everyone can (safely) enjoy all of the delicious food!

Plan your Menu and Other Essentials

Don’t fall into the temptation to experiment with different recipes. Rather, focus your energy on food that you are confident enough to cook – and to cook well! The sooner you start your planning, the better. Ideally, you should start thinking about your menu during the first week of November so as to prevent any severe procrastination. Compile a detailed grocery list and have a game plan (and a budget) for how and when you are going to execute your food shopping. And of course, don’t forget to take inventory, clean, and prepare other essentials, such as dishes, utensils, and tablecloths.

The Night Before

Any preparation that does not need to be done on Thanksgiving Day should be done the night before. Get the easy but troublesome tasks out of the way as soon as you can, such as setting up the dining table. For a stress-free day in the kitchen, cook side dishes like casseroles and cranberry sauce the day before and store them in the fridge for convenience. Save the tedious cooking – like the turkey! – for the day of Thanksgiving, so that you can dedicate all of your time and energy to the biggest and most important dishes. Don’t forget to give your frozen turkey at least 24 hours to thaw before cooking!


And finally, do not let your pride get the best of you if your guests offer to help. Everyone knows that you can do it all, but that doesn’t mean that you have to! After all, Thanksgiving is a time to get together with the people you love and to show gratitude for everything that they do for you.

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