The Ultimate Guide to Hosting a Stress-Free Thanksgiving
How are you feeling about hosting Thanksgiving this year? Stressed? Excited? Maybe it’s a little of both. Whether this is your first or twentieth time hosting a holiday dinner party, here are five tips that can help you be the hostess with the mostest this Thanksgiving! Here’s the ultimate guide to hosting a stress-free Thanksgiving.
There’s a lot to prepare as the hostess for the family gathering. The menu, space arrangement, activities for everyone, and the list could go on. The most important thing to remember is that every detail does not need to be perfect! The best way to be the hostess your family and friends will love is to make them feel welcome and at home.
This ultimate Thanksgiving hostess guide will give you the tips you need to prepare beforehand and help you enjoy the time when it actually comes! You deserve to sit and soak up family time too, so don’t let the hostess responsibilities keep you from doing that. And these five tips will definitely help!
5 Pro Tips for Hosting Thanksgiving
Before we get into the five tips, we have something for you! It’s our Thanksgiving playlist. Parties always feel a lot smoother with some background music. And we’ve already done the work to put together the best songs for Thanksgiving. You can check it out HERE! Alright, let’s get started with tip #1!
Tip #1: Make a plan.
Things always go better with a plan. Take time to think about who you will invite, where your guests will sit, and where you want the food. You could even gather ideas on Pinterest on how you want your tables to be set up. Do you want the food on the table or do you want it buffet style and everyone serves themselves and then sits? Once you make a decision you can make plans to set it up that way in your home when the time arrives.
If you have kids coming to your family dinner party, create a space to play or have an activity ready for them. That way the kids can stay out of the kitchen area and they can stay entertained while the adults prep the dinner and visit with one another.
Tip #2: Create a menu.
One thing you must know as a hostess is that you do NOT need to cook everything! Consider inviting your guests to bring their favorite Thanksgiving dish and then you can fill in the gaps of what’s missing. Usually, the hostess is in charge of the main dish, so in this case, it’ll be turkey (or whatever meat your family loves to eat on Thanksgiving). So don’t be afraid to ask all of your guests to bring the sides and desserts to build out this menu!
One thing you could do for your family and friends is to have an appetizer ready for them to snack on once they arrive. And this can be a super simple spread. Thankfully, most appetizers can be store-bought and placed in bowls and/or serving trays and you’re good to go!
Tip #3: Go shopping.
Of course, you’ve got to go shopping to buy all the yummy Thanksgiving food. Make sure to take a grocery list and go a few days before Thanksgiving to avoid last-minute crowds. The last thing you’ll want is for the store to run out of the one ingredient you need or be stuck in long lines when you could be spending time with your family.
Also, make sure to buy your turkey a few weeks in advance. This will guarantee you find a good size and a fair-priced one. Keep it in the freezer until you’re ready to thaw, prep, and cook it. It takes about 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds of whole turkey to thaw in the refrigerator. Once the turkey is thawed, you can keep it in the fridge for one to two additional days before cooking.
Tip #4: Prep food early.
Prepping food early is one of the best things you can do for yourself as the hostess of Thanksgiving dinner. You could go as far as making your casseroles a few days in advance and freezing them until the day of. That way they will already be made and all you have to do is warm them up in the oven. You can also make pies a couple of days ahead of time.
If you plan on having homemade mashed potatoes or any other vegetable with dinner, those vegetables can be washed and set aside ahead of time. Think of any other prep you can do beforehand so it doesn’t feel like too much on the day of. Remember, you deserve to relax and enjoy Thanksgiving too, and prepping food ahead of time will help you do that!
Tip #5: Prep your home.
Start the holiday with a clean space. You could have a family cleaning day a day or two before Thanksgiving to make sure all the main areas are tidied and ready to hold all of your guests. Make sure to fill the bathrooms with extra toilet paper and double-line the trash cans. These two things will help accommodate the larger numbers in your home!
Holiday Hostess Pro Tip: Set out Conversation Cards to get the conversation flowing. Sometimes family and friends only see each other a few times a year, so they may want to talk but aren’t sure what to talk about. These conversation cards will help your guests move past the small talk and get people connecting and having fun right away! Consider placing the box out with your appetizers, or select your favorite cards and put one at each place setting at your table. Your guests will enjoy quality conversation while breaking bread together.
The Ultimate Guide to Hosting a Stress-Free Thanksgiving
We hope reading the ultimate guide to hosting a stress-free Thanksgiving helps you feel more prepared for what’s to come. Remember to have fun during Thanksgiving and while you are preparing for it. This is such a great opportunity for you to spend time celebrating all that you are grateful for with the people you love most.
Try not to go crazy trying to perfect every detail and be the perfect hostess. Your guests will not remember how perfect everything looked or tasted nearly as much as how they felt in your home. Enjoy the family time and let go of the rest. Trust in the plan you’ve made and rely on the help you have. We wish you the happiest Thanksgiving with your family and friends!
If you loved this holiday hostess guide and want to continue to get more great tips like this, you can follow us on Instagram @lumitory. We love sharing our favorite things, tried and true tips, great playlists, and resources designed to make hosting easy and fun. We can’t wait to connect with you!