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Can you smell the turkey and stuffing already? Thanksgiving dinners are not something that happens without preparation and strategy. If the day doesn’t flow just right, you could be in for disaster. But here are a few helpful tips for hosting your big dinner with ease of execution. 


1. Bake Desserts Early

Or buy them pre-made. Honestly, this is one thing that you don’t NEED to worry about if you don’t want to. If there’s that one pie that you make every year, then make it, but make it early. Make it a day (or two) before and it will still taste just as good, if not better!

2. Set the Table Prior

If you can, set the table at least the day before, do it. Gather your florals, your plates, your flatware and arrange them how you like. Not only will you be able to enjoy the table setting for a day or two longer, you will have taken one more thing off your plate for the big day and given yourself more time!  

3. Write out a Schedule

The key to hosting Thanksgiving like a boss is execution. So the best way to execute flawlessly is to know how you want the day to go down. Write out a schedule showing the order you’ll be putting things in the oven and include how long and what temperature. Leave spaces in between where you can add in what you’ll be doing on the stove during those cooking times. A schedule will really help the day go much smoother and prevent forgetting things.

4. Empty Everything 

Trashes, Dishwasher, Fridge. Lots of things are going to be happening in the kitchen and you don’t want to have the extra stress of needing to unload the dishwasher and shove things in the fridge when you should be checking the turkey. Remember, there will be LOTS of dirty dishes and LOTS of leftovers so make sure there is room for both before you even start the day. This is a perfect task to do the night before. 


5. Make Breakfast Easy

With all the food that’s going to be available in just a few short hours, don’t worry too much about preparing breakfast for everyone. Grab store bought muffins, donuts, or cinnamon rolls to set out early in the morning that the kids and husband can grab as they like. Or, if you have houseguests who prefer a warm breakfast, have the rest of the family take them to the best local cafe. This will give you a nice, quiet time before the other guests arrive. 

6. Dont Deny Help

It can be hard to open up your kitchen and allow others in, especially when you have a plan or idea of how everything is going to go. But if you’ve written it all down, don’t deny someone asking to help. Take all the help you can get! This might even allow you to sneak in a shower which you probably haven’t taken yet. With the morning schedule being written out, others can see your plan and can help without hindering. If you don’t have it all written out, make sure when you accept the help from others that you give specific tasks so no one is feeling in the way. 

7. Dont Fret Over the Appetizers

Look, there’s going to be a lot of food, so don’t fret the small stuff. Appetizers can be kept to easy charcuterie boards, fruits and veggies. If you are famous for certain appetizers, feel free to still make them, but try to make them ahead of time so all you have to worry about on the big day is setting them out.

8. Mocktails & Cocktails

Very. Important. Make sure you have drinks available for your guests. If you don’t want to have a full self-serve bar, pre-mix a seasonal drink for everyone to enjoy. Maybe keep the alcohol to the side so your guests can add if they choose. Grab juice boxes for the kids so you don’t have spills all over the place too!  

9. Plan for Early Arrivals

No matter what time you set the start of dinner, people will arrive earlier than you expect. Make sure you are ready. Have football on in one room and Thanksgiving parades in another. This is also where pre-made appetizers are perfect! Just pull them out as the doorbell rings and you are sure to be on the top hostess list.

10. Express Your Gratefulness

No matter how you spend your day, be sure to share how grateful you are for the amazing gifts you are all sharing. Whether everyone writes something down or you go around the table and share what you are grateful for out loud, make sure you do this. It’s always great to come together and share the good things we are blessed to have.

Whether it is your first time hosting or you are a seasoned pro, with all these tips, you are sure to be the hostess with the most-ess and sparkle throughout the day! Just remember not to sweat the small stuff and enjoy the little things, after all, we are celebrating all the things we are thankful for and there’s no reason to stress if something doesn’t go just the way you planned. Give yourself grace and you are sure to have the best Thanksgiving yet. 

1 Comment

Erika Robertson
November 1, 2020 at 7:56 am

Hi Abigail, I was hoping to see how guests are handled during a pandemic. Is this article assuming all guests have been tested? That is what we were going to do, ask our family to get tested so we can be together with our at risk parents.

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