Thanksgiving– A holiday meant to be enjoyed with loved ones, but hosting this timely annual event can be quite stressful. As the host, your list of responsibilities is long ranging from the main course all the way to dessert. It can be overwhelming, but don't worry, we've got you covered with some tips! Here are the dos and don'ts of hosting Thanksgiving.
Do: Prepare plenty of food
Kind of obvious, right? It's always better to have leftovers than not enough food. Prepare enough so that everyone can have seconds or even thirds. The last thing you want is for your guests to leave hungry! Taking inventory of your pantry and counting the RSVPs of the people attending is a helpful step some people look over. Don't overlook the prep process! You can also ask your guests beforehand if they have any specific dietary needs or if they plan to bring anything.
Don't: Forget to thaw the turkey
Again, another obvious one, but such an important one. It's a mistake that has happened to even the most experienced hosts. Make sure to thaw your turkey in the fridge, allowing for one day of thawing for every four pounds of turkey. If you're crunched for time, you can also thaw your turkey in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes. Just make sure it's fully thawed before cooking to avoid potential food poisoning.
Do: Allow others to bring something
If your guests offer to bring something, don't hesitate to say yes. Whether this ranges from extra kitchenware to something small like appetizers, this eliminates some of the stress for you. They can help you prepare and it allows your guests to feel involved with this special holiday. Make it fun by either assigning members a dish or asking them to bring their favorite side or dessert.
Do: Accept the help of others
Just because you're the host, doesn't mean you have to do it all by yourself. That's not what Thanksgiving is about! Have someone help set the table. Have people in the kitchen to help with preparation and serving, and it's always nice having help with cleanup. With trying to have the least amount of stress possible, the more hands the better. Everyone likes to feel useful, and it will help keep the Thanksgiving spirit lively. Plus, some of our favorite memories growing up are from moments where we got to help our parents and grandparents prepare Thanksgiving dinner!
Don't: Wait until the last minute to clean
Having a mountain high pile of dishes is never fun, but especially on Thanksgiving. After all the prepping and cooking, the last thing anyone wants to do is clean. Clean as you go. It is so important, it must be said again. Clean as you go! This is the best thing you could do to ensure a happy rest of the day after all the hard work has paid off. Thanksgiving is ultimately about spending time with your loved ones so don't spend it cleaning once all the food is cooked and eaten!
Do: Give yourself a head start
Start as early with the grocery shopping. The longer you wait, the more overwhelming. Start your grocery list a few weeks before the holiday and do any non-perishable shopping as soon as possible. Make sure to check what ingredients you already have. Shop for perishable items on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and have all your groceries by the Wednesday before. This way, you'll be prepared for the big day and have plenty of time to prepare the meal.
Don't: Make every single family recipe
This is always where the tension starts in my family- everyone has their own favorite dish, and there is not room to cook (or eat) all of it! We've settled on alternating dishes each year so that everyone is able to enjoy their favorite dish. It also gives you the opportunity to work in some new recipes with the old. The cooking process is long already with the traditional Thanksgiving food and making it longer might not always be necessary in one household. If you're going to multiple households this year, go ham with all the recipes! If you are looking for inspiration for new recipes, check out our recipe blog!
Do: Switch it up every year
Yes, tradition is a big thing in a lot of households but that doesn't mean a tradition can't be doing something different every year. Try new recipes, rotate which family member's house you attend, maybe try a theme. Doing the same thing every year is essentially the same memory. Have fun! Don't stress and don't be the one to host every year if it isn't what you want.
Hosting Thanksgiving may seem overwhelming, but with some preparation and a laid-back attitude, you can have a successful and enjoyable holiday. Remember to prepare plenty of food, allow others to bring a dish, not stress too much, and most importantly, don't forget to thaw the turkey. Keep these simple tips in mind and enjoy your time with loved ones. Happy Thanksgiving!