Hosting Thanksgiving may seem like a daunting task, especially if you've never done it before. Sure, it may be a meal with more side dishes and a turkey that you may not usually cook, but it's essential to try not to be too stressed and remind yourself what the day is about - sharing gratitude with family and friends. With that said, there are things that you can do to help the day go as smoothly as possible so that you can enjoy it as much as your guests.
1. Plan With Realistic Expectations
One of the very best things you can do is not put off planning until the last minute. Make a list of what you'd like to have on the menu, and then decide what you want to make, buy already prepared, or have someone else bring.
2. Willingly Accept Help
You're likely to have your guests ask to help. So, take them up on this offer! If they ask you what you'd like them to bring, select an item that will be helpful to you. If you have multiple guests coming, consider creating a shared sign-up list through iCloud notes or Google Docs with the things that you'd like brought so that your guests can make their selections on what to bring.
3. Do As Much as You Can in Advance
At least a few days before Thanksgiving, take time to review all recipes you plan to make and determine what ingredients you need to get. Many stores are closed on the holiday, so along with saving yourself from the hassle of trying to find a store opened on Thanksgiving, shopping ahead will help ensure that you'll have one less thing to worry about on Thanksgiving Day. Also, many side dishes can be prepared a day ahead, refrigerated, and then baked, if needed, the day of the meal. Doing as much as you can in advance will give you more time to relax the day that your guests come over.
4. Don’t Expect Things to Go Perfectly
If things don't go exactly the way that you had planned, try not to let it get you down. Your guests are unlikely to notice the little details that you had planned to get done but ran out of time to complete. You'll feel less stressed and happier if you go into the day with an open mind and go-with-the-flow attitude. Rather than focusing on what goes wrong, be thankful for everything that goes right.
5. Enjoy the Day
Don't spend too much time worrying about your guests having a good time that you end up not also enjoying yourself. For example, when guests arrive, you can show them where they can find drinks, appetizers, and anything else that you've prepared for the day and invite them to help themselves. Using disposable plates and utensils, as well as foil pans, can help cut back on the amount of cleaning after the meal. When the day is over, take a deep breath, count your blessings, and give yourself a big pat on the back. You did it!