Best 10 Tips For Hosting a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

Sharing my Best 10 Tips For Hosting a Stress-Free Thanksgiving so you can enjoy the holiday too.

woman setting a napkin on a place setting

Thanksgiving is right around the corner which is hard to believe. Where does the time go? I feel confident in my tips today as I am no stranger to being a host for several years in a row. One might ask why in the world anyone would want to take on this year after year. Well, I am still not exactly sure but one clear thing, I have had as many successes as failures.

But just like anything else, we must fail before we can succeed. Whether you are hosting for the first time or haven’t hosted in a while. These tips I have for you today will save you time and will have you executing a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner with ease. So with that, here are my 10 best tips for hosting a stress-free Thanksgiving. Allowing you to enjoy the holiday with your guests while hosting like a boss.

Create a Guest List

Ok ok. This seems pretty obvious but maybe not to all of you. I have personally done the, come one come to all invite in my excited voice weeks before hosting. At that point, I was running on the buzz of enthusiasm. When it came down to the wire, I was not too happy with my excited self in the weeks prior. I had to track guests down for head counts and of course, I didn’t end up with one. Which then led to too many people and not enough seating.

But rest assured, you will not do this. You will remain calm, and send your invite whether via text or phone call. Ask whose coming, allow or not allow dates and get a head count previous to the date. This way you will know exactly how many people will be coming to your Thanksgiving.

woman writing a guest list for thanksgiving

Tables and Chairs

I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble here but your guests want a chair. They want to sit at a table to eat and have a chair. Yes, this is an actual tip. it might seem painfully obvious. However, I am speaking as an attendee to other people’s Thanksgivings where in we ate on the floor picnic style, on couches, and even on the front porch. All separately because there wasn’t enough room at the table or enough chairs for everyone.

Please take it from me, people don’t enjoy this. It is very simple to rent, borrow or even buy some decent folding chairs and an extra table to ensure your guests are comfortable. Now if you have a small home as I do. I have found having a fold-up table to pop up is a great solution to this along with extra folding chairs. People will remember eating a lovely meal all together and you will feel much happier having provided that.

Plan the Menu

I do realize that we are talking about Thanksgiving here. So pretty much the standard dishes apply. However, try to steer away from Pinterest recipes you have never eaten or tried making before the big day. Make what you know how to make. Today is not the day to teach yourself how to make new recipes or homemade dinner rolls for the first time.

Today is the day to have a well-planned menu that you know how to prepare and can execute without having to reread a recipe 14 times and guess whether it is a good dish or not when placing it on the table.

Use Tasteful Disposable Serveware

It is a little crazy for me to personally add this as I am pretty much anti-plastic in my home. But there is a time and a place for this tip. I think hosting Thanksgiving is one of them. I recently hosted my daughter’s sweet 16 murder mystery dinner party which was a black-tie affair.

Where in I used these beautiful tasteful disposable serve ware sets that came complete with silverware, cups, and plates. I also found very good disposable dinner napkins that felt like cloth. Not only did the knives cut our meat fine, but the table also looked beautiful and at the end of the night, all I had to do was toss it in the trash. It takes a lot of work to host Thanksgiving or any large dinner event and the last thing you want to do at the end of it all is wash dishes.

tasteful disposable serveware for a stress free thanksgiving

Opt For Store Bought Where You Can

Here is another one that you might be surprised to read from me but even I have my limits. Yes, I share from-scratch food on this blog but if you are cooking a large Thanksgiving meal and you need to get canned cranberry sauce, then go for it. Your event will not be ruined by canned cranberry sauce or frozen pie crust. But what will happen, is it will give you one less thing to worry about making it a less stressful affair.

Do Your Deep Cleaning 2 Days Ahead of Time

This is something I started to do in recent years of hosting. Before this, I would do it the morning of, and if I had help, maybe a bit of it the night before. However, I have found that if I ease into the tasks rather than do them all on the same day, there is so much less stress. This leaves much more time to fuss over the decor and nothing feels rushed.

So yes, two days before the big day, do your bathrooms. Deep clean the floors, dust, and even do yard work two days prior. If you have a big family, ask them to use one of the bathrooms not meant for guests for that next day if possible, and do a quick clean sweep to tidy it up just in case a guest needs it.

Set The Table The Night Before

One of my very favorite parts of any dinner is setting the table. I love to take my time and make it beautiful. I find that I get to do this best if I set it the night before. If I don’t I may get lost in cooking and getting myself ready that the table becomes last minute. Not ideal. So take a few minutes before bed to set the table or tables up complete with serve ware and place settings. You will have one less thing to do on the day of.

woman setting a thanksgiving table with silverware

Choose Your Outfit and Plan Make up The Day Ahead

Just like setting the table the night before, it is also a good idea to know your outfit for the day. Make sure you know exactly where your dress or blouse etc. you plan on wearing. Chances are they will go missing on the day of. I can’t tell you how many church mornings, dinner parties and yes, Thanksgiving I have had to find something else at the last minute because I couldn’t find what I planned on wearing.

Planning your outfit also includes selecting your makeup and hairstyle the night prior. Opt for a more simple look for both and just like the recipes, don’t try anything new the day of. Do what you know.

Create a Drink Station

Having a drink station or a pop-up bar in your living room or dining area is not only fun but it allows your guests to find refreshments easily, giving you more time. You won’t need to go around asking what anyone wants to drink and better yet, they won’t come searching in the kitchen for something just as well. You can find all sorts of beautiful and fun ideas for a drink station on Pinterest. But again, I stress, to keep it simple and prepare any decor for it the night before!

Keep Dessert Simple (ideas to try)

One of my favorite and possibly best of the 10 tips for hosting a stress-free Thanksgiving is this one. You can go with store-bought desserts but to keep it even more simple, ask your guests to bring their favorite desserts as their dinner contribution. It makes dessert fun to try everyone’s desserts and it will give you one less thing to do.

To take it to another level, you can pick an ingredient lemon, blueberry, apple, pumpkin, etc, and ask your guests to make a dish with that ingredient for a dessert contest. You can pick a couple of judges or have everyone participate by placing a small notepad next to a bowl for votes near the dessert area.

Choose One Main Meat For The Meal

Here is a bonus one I need to throw in here because if you are anything like me, you think big. When first starting as a homemaker and a newer cook, I thought of my mother’s spread. Complete with both a ham and a turkey or even a roast. It is something that is always there in our family. However, if you are newer to cooking or have never done a Thanksgiving.

I suggest narrowing it down to one meat dish. Having all the traditional sides along with a turkey or ham is just fine, especially for a first Thanksgiving. Remember, this is your Thanksgiving, you don’t need to repeat exactly what someone else does at theirs. Simplify your dinner and you will find it less stressful to pull off.

That is it for today’s Best 10 Tips for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving!

I hope you have gotten some value from my best tips for hosting a stress-free Thanksgiving post. If you find them helpful I hope you will leave me a comment below and mention which tip helped most.

Above all else, I wish you a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving!


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Good Quality Disposable Dinner Napkins (they feel like linen)

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