10 Ways To Host A Stress-Free Thanksgiving Dinner
Hosting friends and family in your home while cooking Thanksgiving dinner is not for the faint-of-heart. We’re not going to lie, it can be an overwhelming day, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve compiled a list of 10 things to help you enjoy the day and host a Thanksgiving dinner your friends and family will love.
1. Buy Your Turkey & Ingredients Well Ahead Of Time
If you’re preparing a frozen turkey (which most of us do), it will take a few days for it to thaw out in the refrigerator. If you plan on brining it, that will take an additional 24-48 hours. Write out all of the ingredients you will need for each dish and make sure you shop a few days before the big day. Trust us, you don’t want to realize that you’re missing nutmeg the morning of Thanksgiving.
2. Make A Realistic Menu
Before you’re shopping trip, sit down and create your Thanksgiving menu. Be realistic about what you can accomplish. Sure a twice-baked butternut squash and savory carrot-tart sound amazing, but Thanksgiving is not a time for culinary experiments. Stick to what you know.
3. Buy A Meat Thermometer
It’s hard to tell when a turkey is really done, and the last thing you want to do is cut it open to check before the juices have settled. For big meals like this, a meat thermometer is your best friend. Splurge a bit and get one with an alarm that will beep when your turkey hits the correct temperature.
4. Make A Schedule & Stick To It
Write down all of the cooking times and temps for your different dishes. If one dish only takes 30 minutes to cook, then you don’t want it prepared too early and sitting out getting cold. Coordinate everything and set several reminders on your phone to help you along. Dishes like salads can be made beforehand, and appetizers can be prepared the day before and warmed up prior to guests arriving.
5. Ask For Help
People always ask, “What can I bring?” Instead of another bottle of wine, ask your guests to bring desserts, such as apple or pumpkin pie, or another side dish. This will free you up and your guests will feel grateful to have contributed.
6. Set The Table The Night Before
The last thing you want to do right before your guests arrive is set the table. There’s too much going on in the kitchen to focus on setting a great tablescape. Save this task for the night before. Lay out all the dishes, utensils, glasses, candles, and accessories well ahead of time to free up your schedule on the big day.
7. Keep Guests Occupied
People will always gather in the kitchen, this can be a good or bad thing. If you have a small kitchen or need space when cooking, set up your appetizers in another room, or turn the football game on so guests can gather there. If you’re having children over, lay out some arts and crafts to keep them busy.
8. Wear Comfortable Shoes
Because you will be standing all day, trust us.
9. Assign An Assistant
If you have a spouse, partner or family member who is helping you out during Thanksgiving, have them play the role of assistant. Let it be their job to greet guests, take coats, make sure the appetizers are laid out and restocked, offer guests drinks, and any other miscellaneous tasks that will help the day run smoothly.
10. Enjoy Yourself
Take time to relax and enjoy your company and the amazing dinner you created. You did it!