Hosting a successful Thanksgiving dinner is what we all want to do when we invite our friends and family in. We don’t want them to leave our home and feel like they attended a total flop. I have hosted more than my fair share of Thanksgiving dinners and discovered some tips that make things go a lot smoother. With these tips, you can relax, knowing you will be hosting a successful Thanksgiving dinner.
1. Plan Your Menu
The first thing you need to do if you hope to be hosting a successful Thanksgiving dinner is plan your menu. A Thanksgiving dinner is not something you can throw together at the last minute. Take time to make a menu. It is important to consider anyone that will be attending with special dietary needs. If you are trying out a new recipe, you may want to give it a trial run before serving it to your guests.
2. Shop for Ingredients
Once you have your menu together, you can break it down into a list of what you need from the grocery store. Be careful to check your list carefully, making sure that you are not forgetting anything. Thanksgiving stories are full of incidents where someone had to go out searching for a missing ingredient. It may be helpful to break your list into two parts. Make one part a list of things that can be purchased more than a week ahead of time and the other of the items that will have to be bought only a few days ahead of time to ensure freshness.
3. Do Your Prep Work
The more prep work you can do ahead of time, the better. That makes your day much easier on the actual day of Thanksgiving. Many desserts and salads can be prepared ahead of time. You can even get some dishes ready to go in the oven and store in the refrigerator until it is time. I even find it helpful to plan what pans I am going to use for what dish ahead of time.
4. Enlist Help
Taking on cooking and hosting Thanksgiving dinner by yourself is a recipe for disaster, especially if you have more than a few people attending. Take my advice and enlist some help. It can be your husband, your sister or your best friend. It doesn’t matter who as long as they are willing to help you. It is wise to choose someone that you work well with or that can take instructions well. Someone with a little cooking knowledge can be helpful, too.
5. Get Dressed
Don’t forget to schedule some time for you to get ready before your guests arrive. Things can get really hectic in the hour before guests are arriving so it may be best to get ready much earlier. If you want to change into a specific outfit, you can slip away to do that quickly. But for the most part, try to have your shower, hair and makeup done before things get crazy. No one wants to host Thanksgiving dinner looking terrible.
6. Don’t Stress over Details
Don’t allow yourself to get all worked up if your stuffing is a little dry or you forgot to add lemons to the tea. Those things are miniscule and are not going to be remembered, anyways. Focus on the bigger picture. Focus on making sure the rest of the meal is presented well, your company is comfortable and enjoying their meal.
7. Enjoy Your Company
The reason we host Thanksgiving dinner is because we want to share it with our loved ones and enjoy that time with them. So do that. Don’t get wrapped up in the kitchen after the meal is complete. Focus on enjoying visiting with everyone. Be available if a guest needs you but for the most part, when the meal is finished cooking, shift your focus from food to fun.
There is no question that hosting Thanksgiving dinner is a huge task. It is also one that everyone does in their own unique way. What do you do when you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner to make it easier on yourself?