Tips on How to Host a Great Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving meal
Whether you’ve been hosting Thanksgiving dinner for years or if this your first time, preparing the yearly feast can definitely be overwhelming. The pressure to present the perfect holiday dinner can be intense, even if it’s pressure you put on yourself. Combined with a larger than usual audience (your entire extended family), it’s easy to understand why the holidays conjure stressful images for those who are in charge of meal prep.
 

One of the main factors that leads to high levels of stress on Thanksgiving is the fact that so many dishes must be prepared and served at the same time for things to be considered “successful.” This requires a great deal of coordination and planning, and even a small error in judgement can cause your plans to crumble like a row of dominoes. In order to avoid that scenario and to save your own sanity, try following some of these Thanksgiving tips:

 
Write out your menu

We know you’re not running a fancy restaurant, but writing down what you plan to serve will help in multiple ways. First, as soon as you know what you plan to serve, you can create a shopping list which will help you avoid forgetting that one ingredient that will make or break the meal. Secondly, it will give you a sense of control over the day because you’ll have plenty of time to think through any recipes that you haven’t made before.

 
Know who will be attending

Although it’s not a wedding or a birthday party, it is important for your friends and family members to give you a solid response about whether or not they’ll be eating dinner at your house on Thanksgiving Day. Knowing how many people will be there before you do your holiday grocery shopping will ensure that you buy the proper amounts of everything.


 
Request that guests bring something

It’s becoming more and more acceptable to ask your Thanksgiving guests to bring a dish with them, so do not feel like you’re breaking some ancient etiquette law by requesting help. This is especially true if you will be doing most or all of the food prep, table prep, cleaning and dishes.

 

Make a schedule

Once again, writing things down will help you stick to them. Write down all of the things you need to do on Thanksgiving Day from the moment you wake up to the moment the last dish is washed at the end of the day.


 
Get plenty of rest

The night before Thanksgiving, make it an early night so that you can wake up early enough to stay on schedule. Waking up early will allow you to begin roasting the turkey and prepping any dishes that are complicated or take a while to cook.


 
Have drinks prepared

As is usually the case, someone you know probably likes to be everywhere ahead of schedule, so be sure to have drinks and appetizers ready to serve before you dive into the rest of the menu items. If your house needs a cleaning, be sure to do that in the day(s) leading up to Thanksgiving so that you can focus on food and family on the big day.

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