I love Thanksgiving – it’s the best way to kick off the holiday season with friends and family, enjoying some much-needed time off. PLUS, you don’t need to buy anyone a gift! Yep, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I just love it! I’m sharing 10 Thanksgiving Hosting Tips that will leave you Thankful. Let’s get started.
10 Thanksgiving Hosting Tips that will leave you Thankful!
1. Plan Backwards. Start with a reasonable budget and work backward from there. Don’t start planning and then see what happens to your budget. I guarantee it won’t be pretty. After all, you want to save as much as you can with holiday shopping right around the corner!
2. Clean House and Fridge. Clean your cooking surfaces. Deep-clean those kitchen workhorses like your stand mixer (check out my tutorial), sheet pans, wooden spoons, and utensils.
With all of this cleaning going on, don’t forget to CLEAN OUT THE FRIDGE! As you’re cooking, prepping, and storing food, there’s nothing more frustrating than playing a masterful game of Tetris each time you open the refrigerator door. The week before Thanksgiving, plan meals around what you already have in your fridge. This will ensure you have plenty of space to store ingredients and dishes for the big day.
3. Guest List. Pin down who’s coming before you start menu planning. Are there any sort of dietary restrictions? Are some people only staying for dinner? Or maybe just coming for dessert? Ask your guests well in advance to know what kind of food and how much to plan for.
4. Plan Some More. Now that you know who will be coming, do you have enough dishes, stemware, chairs, utensils, etc. to accommodate everyone? If not, I suggest borrowing what you don’t already have so you don’t have to dip into your precious budget. Think of asking friends that you know will be out-of-town, family members, and even your church. My family has borrowed folding tables and chairs many times from our congregation.
5. Keep it Simple. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo DiVinci. We tend to forget that Thanksgiving for the Pilgrims was more like a picnic than a formal dinner. I’m not saying you need to go that informal, but just keep it in mind. Try keeping things simple on Thanksgiving; the place settings, tablescape, menu, etc.
6. Menu Plan. Look through your favorite cookbooks, magazines, and Pinterest boards. Find the recipes you want to make, and make your lists from there. I suggest you make as many dishes ahead of time, so you simply need to reheat them later. For the dishes that you do cook on Thanksgiving, try to choose ones that will cook at the same oven temperature.
Kitchen Note: You will probably need to add a few minutes to cooking times because the oven is more crowded than usual, and the oven door will be opened and closed more times than usual.
7. Don’t Forget About the Kiddos. Sometimes there can be a chunk of time between guest arrival, hors d’ourves, and dinner. Plan a simple, time-consuming activity for them. I suggest having them make a crafty dessert. Also, make the kids’ table fun but simple (remember #5). Cover the kid’s table with butcher block paper and some crayons in paper cups. This will for sure keep them entertained.
8. Prep Early and Thoroughly. The night before, Look over your recipes one last time. Do any prep work (like chopping veggies), and then label each serving piece with a sticky note with what dish will go in it. This will make sure you’re not shuffling and searching your kitchen on the big day.
9. Save on Oven Space. Let’s face it; your oven is a happening place on Thanksgiving between the turkey, side dishes, anything that needs reheating, and let’s not forget about the homemade rolls!
Try to ease the gridlock by prepping a few of the side dishes on the stovetop and even prepping your turkey in a tabletop electric roaster. We own this one. It’s a combo roaster and smoker and works fabulously as both. My favorite feature is the self-basting lid, genius!
10. Make your Guests Clean Up! Well, at least some of it. Make clean-up easy on yourself by having your guests help with some of it. Provide empty take-home boxes for folks to fill with yummy leftovers, leaving your clean-up job cut in half.
Plus, you won’t still be eating Thanksgiving leftovers when Christmas rolls around. Score, right!?
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What did I miss? Do you have any Thanksgiving Hosting Tips that you’d like to add?