Are you hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year?
Hosting and cooking this huge meal is a big milestone for a cook,
but it also can be a moment of some anxiety and nerves. If
Thanksgiving seems daunting, these essential tips will make it less
so. They'll show you how to get organized, stay calm, and enjoy
Thanksgiving more than ever!
1. Never turn down help.
Thanksgiving is often a potluck affair, and that's the beauty of
it. Let friends and family bring things, and be shameless about
delegating the parts of the meal that stress you out. Just because
you're hosting doesn't mean you need to make every single thing.
Pick the dishes that are most important to you and then ask your
guests to contribute!
2. Make as much ahead as possible.
The most stressful part of a meal is the last-minute rush. When
you're planning your menu look for dishes that can be made ahead of
time to reduce the stress of that final hour of cooking. Even if
you can't make a full dish ahead, look for ways to prep in advance,
like toasting nuts or breadcrumbs.
3. Start early on your non-food prep.
It's not just the food that needs to be prepped. You're probably
pulling out serving dishes that need to be washed, or extra
silverware, or counting your napkins to make sure you have enough.
Do all of that the week before. Double-check your serving plates
and utensils and iron your tablecloth, if needed!
4. It's fine to buy parts of your meal.
Know a great bakery? Buy a pie. Hate making gravy? Buy some from
a specialty grocery. There's absolutely nothing wrong with buying a
few pieces of the meal, especially if it makes for a more relaxing
day. Don't be afraid to buy whatever you're not comfortable with
5. Make a list and a timeline of everything that needs to
Avoid last-minute overload by counting backwards from the time
dinner is served and scheduling out prep time and oven time. This
list can stick on the fridge or wherever you'll see it. I also find
it helpful to set alarms on my phone for really key moments, like
putting the turkey in the oven.
6. Don't be afraid to rearrange furniture for the
If your normal dining space isn't suited to comfortably host the
amount of people you're having over, then be imaginative and do
some temporary changes to your interior decoration. For example, by
swapping dining and living areas you can make the table the focus
of your apartment and give your guests more room to move
6. Relax, have fun, and live in the spirit of the holiday!
And the most important piece of advice? Relax! Remember people
are there to gather with you and one another, not to be
entertained. Ask for help, laugh a lot, remember the turkey can
rest for an hour while you finish everything else, and above all,
find moments of gratitude in a busy, messy, loud, and delicious