But never fear! We’ve got your guide to planning and hosting Thanksgiving so you can have an enjoyable holiday with your loved ones. Here’s how to host Thanksgiving dinner at your home.
1. Plan it out
Every successful event starts with a plan. Plan out the big day before you do anything else to make sure you can be prepared for your Thanksgiving get-together.
Sit down and think about:
- How many people you’ll be hosting
- What food you’ll be eating
- If anyone has dietary restrictions or food allergies to be mindful of
- Where people will sit to eat (especially if you have a smaller rental)
- How much of each food item you’ll need to feed the crowd you’re hosting
- If you’ll be doing any activities, watching movies or playing games before and/or after you eat
Go over the details so you can ensure the day runs as smoothly as possible. You may need to temporarily rearrange your kitchen and living room layout to accommodate your group. For example, your table might not be big enough to seat all of your guests, so you may need to push a couch out of the way and set up a folding table and chairs for dinner. Think about alternate arrangements you can make if needed.
2. Write it down
As you go about planning, make sure you write everything down! You don’t want anything slipping your mind and you’ll want to be as organized as possible throughout the process.
Chances are, you’ll need more than one piece of paper. You might want to have a piece of paper for each of the following:
- Scratch paper for jotting ideas down
- Writing down the supplies and groceries you’ll need
- Tasks you need to complete during the days leading up to Thanksgiving
- Tasks to complete on Thanksgiving Day before guests arrive
- A rough schedule for Thanksgiving Day, such as when you need to start cooking, when guests should arrive, what time you’ll start eating, etc.
Whatever you do, write things down! It will make things much easier on you in the long run and will ensure things go according to plan when you host Thanksgiving dinner.
3. Make a list
It’s helpful to create a written list of tasks to complete before the big day. Write out a list of tasks you need to complete to get ready to host Thanksgiving dinner, such as:
- Clean the main entertaining area
- Set up any extra tables and chairs
- Make sure you have enough plates, cups and utensils
- Put out table settings
- Go grocery shopping
Write down each of the dishes you’ll need to prepare and what ingredients they need. Then, take an inventory of the ingredients you already have on hand for those dishes and make a shopping list of the things you need to get from the grocery store. And be sure to note any other supplies you might need, such as plates, cups, utensils or table cloths.
4. Give assignments
Once you’ve made your plan, you might need some help — especially if you’re hosting a large group. You don’t need to be the one doing all of the cooking and preparing. Most people are more than willing to help out if you let them.
Ask your guests if they would be willing to help out by arriving early or bringing a food dish with them. They might volunteer to bring something they have in mind or they may simply ask what you need. In any case, make sure you write down who is bringing a dish, what that dish is and who is coming over to help you so you can keep track of it.
5. Gather up everything you need
During the week before Thanksgiving, you’ll want to get your supplies and groceries together so you’re not scrambling the day of Thanksgiving.
Check your supplies
Go back to the handy list you made of tasks, groceries and supplies. Check to make sure you have everything, including table settings, table cloths and activity items (if needed—craft supplies, games, puzzles, etc.). Whatever you don’t already have, add it to your shopping list!
Now it’s time to hit the store! Grab your shopping list and head out to get all of your stuff. You’ll want to go shopping a few days before the big day for a couple of reasons. One, you don’t want to be scrambling at the last minute if you forget something. And two, you want to get your items before everyone else scrambles at the last second. It would not be fun to go to the store and find out all of the items you need are already sold out.
You might need to visit multiple stores to get everything you need, so keep that in mind. You can plan out your shopping trips across multiple days if need be. Or you can plan for one longer outing to hit all the stores. Take that into account as you make your plans for the week before Thanksgiving.
6. Execute the plan
It’s here! Thanksgiving Day has arrived and it’s time to put your preparations into play. Set the table, start cooking and let the fun begin!
If you’re lucky, everything will go according to plan. And even if it doesn’t, that’s OK! You’ll probably need to be flexible, especially when there are things out of your control. If a guest was supposed to bring a dish and they forgot, you might need to go without it or improvise. Or, if the turkey accidentally gets burned to a crisp, you might end up cooking the frozen corndogs you have sitting in your freezer. It’s nothing to get too upset about and will probably turn into a great story for years down the road.
And last, an important part of your plan’s execution is to make sure that you have fun! It can be stressful putting everything together and getting things done on time, and you should get to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Mastering how to host Thanksgiving dinner
Now that you know how to host Thanksgiving dinner, it’s time to get planning! As long as you write things down and stay organized, you’ll have a successful, fun Thanksgiving with all of your family and friends.
Original Content Written and Posted by: Morgen Henderson