Thanksgiving is a holiday for gathering with friends and family, enjoying a good meal and relaxing by watching football games and parades. For most people, they show up for the day and enjoy. For the host, it can become a very stressful time. Don’t worry! With some planning and preparation, you can throw the most enjoyable Thanksgiving yet. Check out some of these tips and tricks that will help you be the hostess with the mostest!
Once you have a date and time, send out a group message or invitation to everyone and ask them to RSVP. Knowing how many guests you will have will give you an idea of how much of everything you will need.
Create your menu
Whether you plan to divide food responsibilities among guests or prepare everything yourself, you will need a list or menu. Here are some common staples to get your list started:
- Mashed Potatoes or Sweet Potatoes
- Green bean or squash casserole
Let your guests know the menu and have an idea of what you would like to delegate if someone asks what they can bring or do to help. If your Thanksgiving is “potluck” style or your guests will be signing up to bring a dish, use tools like SignUpGenius or PunchBowl that will help keep you organized and allow your guests to add what they plan to prepare.
To try and avoid the rush of last-minute shoppers, stock your pantry and fridge 2-3 weeks in advance. Make a list of all the ingredients you will need for each recipe and purchase any non-perishables early on. Some easy items to purchase in advance include paper napkins, paper plates, plastic utensils, to-go containers for leftovers and any disposable baking pans you may need. The more you can check off your list early, the better!
Thaw the turkey early
Thawing the turkey is a step that can get overlooked, especially when your house is full of family and guests for the holidays. For each 4 to 5 pounds of turkey, it takes 24 hours to thaw. So, if you have a 16-pound turkey, it will need about four days in the fridge to thaw out. DO NOT try and cook a frozen turkey. If you forgot to thaw before time and it is still partially frozen, place the turkey in its original packaging in a bowl or sink with cold water. Be sure to add some time to your cooking plans for this.
As a host, you will need time after your guests arrive to put the finishing touches to the meal. So, you most likely won’t be able to entertain them yourself. Check out some of these free printable activities for guests of all ages.
Thanksgiving, The Price is Right Activity and answer sheet
Would You Rather...? Thanksgiving Edition
Thanksgiving Coloring Sheet
Though it may not be a game, let the kids help you with the pesky duties like setting the table and filling glasses, allowing them to feel like they are a big help—and they will be!
Clean as you go
While cooking, piles of dishes and trash can happen quickly. Clean as you go so you don’t have a big mess to clean after cooking all day. Once you have used a dish, put it in the dishwasher. Throw away any trash lying around from empty cans, wrappers and bottles and take the trash out the night before so there is no lingering smell when you wake up. If you have kids or a significant other, enlist their help in tasks like taking out the trash or washing dishes.
Thanksgiving is rooted in the tradition of bonding with one another, building connections and showing gratitude. With all of the hustle and bustle that comes with hosting, it is easy to lose sight of how special the time is that we celebrate with one another. Our hope for you this season is that you enjoy the season, soak in time with your loved ones and maybe take a good nap — you deserve it!