Tips for Hosting Thanksgiving

Prepare early for an enjoyable Thanksgiving.

If you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner, it is never to early to begin preparations. Follow this checklist to get everything in order and reduce stress Thanksgiving week. 

Thanksgiving Host Checklist

Check in with food allergies/dietary restrictions - While it can be a pain to accommodate everyone's food allergies or dietary restrictions on Thanksgiving, it's nonetheless important to do so. Ask about this when you extend invitations, so guests can communicate their preferences well in advance. This way, you can plan a menu that works while accommodating guest preferences. 

Clean and get organized in advance - Clean the house in advance (or hire a cleaner) so everything is tidy. As Thanksgiving approaches, gather serving dishes, bring the extra chairs up from the basement, and stock up on party snacks and beverage options. Don't forget to pick out your outfit in advance so you can easily change from cooking clothes to entertaining clothes. By folding these tasks into your daily routine, you'll avoid a last-minute panic when you realize you don't have enough glasses for all your guests. 

Delegate - Don't forget to delegate tasks to family and friends, so that everyone feels the satisfaction of contributing to the feast. As a host, you will need to attend to last-minute details, and may not have enough time to do everything. Ask guests to bring a dish, tell your siblings to set the table, or put your children in charge of greeting guests to reduce your stress on Thanksgiving Day. 

Create a beverage and appetizer station.

Set the table (and assign seats) - The night before, set the table and assign seats. If children are in attendance, cluster them at a children's table. Intersperse adults however you like; do take into account your guests' temperaments to create a table arrangement that works for all. 

Prep food ahead of time - Oven real estate is valuable on Thanksgiving, so make things ahead of time if you can. Come Thanksgiving, made-ahead items can be served at room temperature (like cranberry sauce) or quickly reheated just before the meal. 

Have a drinks/apps station - Guests have a knack for arriving just as you're tackling critical day-of tasks. Set up a drinks and appetizer station that gives them somewhere to go. Leave out party games, put on a football game, and put someone in charge of socializing with early arrivals so you can focus on the meal. 

Relax - Finally, don't forget to relax. Even if something does not go as planned, you will still have a memorable and fun holiday. Focus on reconnecting with friends and family instead of worrying about all the little details of the big day. 

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