Sharing my Best 10 Tips For Hosting a Stress Free Thanksgiving
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 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 thing that is clear, 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 on time and will have you executing a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner with ease. So with that, here are my top tips for keeping your Thanksgiving stress free and 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 all invite in my excited voice weeks prior to hosting. At that point I was running on the buzz of enthusiasm and 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, 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 so that you know exactly how many people will be coming to your Thanksgiving.
Tables and Chairs
I don’t want to burst anyones 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 peoples 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 like 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 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 daughters sweet 16 murder mystery dinner party which was a black tie affair. Where in I used these beautiful tasteful disposable serveware set 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, the table 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 is at the end of it all, is wash dishes.
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. Prior to 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 then do them all the same day, there is so much less stress. Which leaves much more time to fuss over the decor and nothing feels rushed. So yes, two days prior to 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 serveware and place settings. You will have one less thing to do on the day of.
Choose Your Outfit and Plan a Simple/Make up The Day Prior
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 is 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, Thanksgivings I have had to find something else last minute because I couldn’t find what I planned on wearing. Planning your outfit also includes selecting your make up and hair style 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 For Self Serve Drinks Away From The Kitchen Area
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)
You can totally go with store bought on 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 everyones 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 judges or have everyone participate by placing a small note pad 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 out as a homemaking and a newer cook, I thought of my mothers 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 to narrow 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.