Whether it is the first time hosting Thanksgiving or the 20th, there are a ton of details to remember and items to keep track of. This is why I created 10 Steps to Hosting Thanksgiving and I have a FREE PRINTABLE Thanksgiving planner for you at the end of this post!
When envisioning hosting Thanksgiving, many of us think of it akin to juggling. Doing it all at once. It is stressful. Follow these 10 tips for hosting Thanksgiving to make your life easier!
Make a Guestlist:
To make hosting Thanksgiving as easy as possible, you need to know how many people you are hosting and for how long. Take inventory of your guests and how long they are each staying for. Dinner guests and overnight guests are two very different plans to tackle, so make sure you know what you’re getting into.
Note Dietary Restrictions:
Once you know who will be there, take note of all dietary restrictions of your guests. Avoid those awkward moments of serving sushi to a pregnant woman or a kid having nothing to eat at your house! OK, those are extreme examples, but a key to successful hosting is making all of your guests feel welcome and at home, having food that they will eat is important!
Make a menu with assigned items:
Potluck dinner or not, your guests will be bringing something over for Thanksgiving, make hosting Thanksgiving easier, by tracking who is responsible for what.
Plan your cooking schedule:
Thanksgiving’s signature characteristic is the LARGE menu. Because you are hosting Thanksgiving, you should be the one to write out the cooking schedule. Whether there are a lot of cooks in your kitchen (pun intended) or you are making the whole dinner yourself, planning cook times and temperatures as well as order of dishes being made, will improve your stress level on Thanksgiving day.
Make an easy dinner the night before:
Choosing a go-to crockpot meal or take out the night before hosting Thanksgiving, will make your life 100 times easier. Don’t try to be a hero and make something from scratch the night before hosting Thanksgiving.
Plan an easy breakfast for Thanksgiving morning:
Just because you are hosting Thanksgiving, doesn’t mean you are a short order cook! If you plan an easy continental breakfast for your house guests, no one will be hungry or expecting you to cook them a feast in the midst of Thanksgiving dinner prep.
Decorate in advance:
There is no rule that says if you are hosting Thanksgiving that you should decorate a tablescape to Martha Stewart standards while simultaneously basting your bird! This is another one not to be a martyr about, decorate your table a week in advance (or even more) and just set out plates and flatware the day of your holiday.
Grocery shop before out of town guests arrive:
Rather than running to the store in a panic because you don’t have anymore stock, grocery shop for everything you think you will need before your out-of-town guests arrive. You will likely need to make a last minute run for something, but having your basics will save a headache.
Plan fun activities for downtime:
No one wants bored kids or house guests when hosting Thanksgiving. Take 10 minutes and think of fun, local, easy activities for your guests to do. This year (2020) Covid has stopped us from going to the movies or Black Friday shopping, but we are planning local nature preserve walks, lawn games, face masks and family boardgames.
Brainstorm TV shows to watch/ binge in advance:
I laugh every time I see my own advice, but if you are hosting guests, picking a list of potential TV shows everyone will enjoy will save your from family fights or an evening of indecisive scrolling with guests!
My Thanksgiving Table Decor:
Here is the table decor that I am using for Hosting Thanksgiving this year (PS, I purposely chose items I can reuse on my Christmas dinner table!)