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20 Tips for Hosting a Stress-free Thanksgiving


Whether you’re hosting just your immediate family this year or throwing the Thanksgiving bash of the century and inviting everyone you know, this great American meal doesn’t have to bring on anxiety and nerves. Yes, the preparations, the traveling and the family time can be a challenge. But hosting a stress-free Thanksgiving is possible.  

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From décor to dessert, you can find smart tips from experts online, designed to save you time and a lot of headaches while creating an unforgettable experience for you and your guests. Or just follow my 20 tips. I’ve done all the work for you, and I’m happy to report that it is possible to breeze through the big day while impressing your guests.

  1. Plan your menu early, like today.
  2. Don’t forget to thaw the turkey in your refrigerator. Do this on Saturday, November 19th.
  3. Keep your menu simple, making the dishes you and your family like. Use tried and true recipes and defiantly don’t set your sights on 10 new recipes.
  4. Before the big shopping trips, list everything you’ll need including things like a meat thermometer, turkey baster, and disposable turkey pan.
  5. Don’t forget to include a backup jar of gravy for seconds or thirds.
  6. Just like so many things in life, a successful Thanksgiving dinner is all in the prep. Go ahead and prepare a few side dishes ahead of time. Here’s a prep tip: pie crusts will last in the freezer for an entire month.
  7. Since hosting requires a lot of energy, make sure you get a good night’s sleep.
  8. Get some help and ask a family member or your staff to set the table the night before.
  9. Timing is everything, especially at Thanksgiving. It’s essential to make a plan for your oven and stovetop in advance.
  10. When it comes to all the dishes that cook at the same temperature, put them all in the oven at the same time.
  11. Make sure to hire a bartender. If you don’t, have drinks on hand in big, punch-bowl-sized batches. That way, you can spend your time enjoying your guests instead of making them drinks all night.
  12. If children are in attendance, make sure to set up a craft table, with some yummy snacks for them. That way, they’ll remain happily occupied and out of the kitchen.
  13. Don’t forget to plan some me-time before your guests arrive. Everyone needs a little space to relax on Thanksgiving. Anyway, your calm mindset will set a positive tone for the whole day.
  14. When it comes to getting dressed, think festive and functional and make sure you are comfortable. Forget about those tight pants. Go for something a little giving!
  15. Your appetizers and drinks, both adult beverages and some non-alcohol favorites should be ready and waiting when guests arrive. That will encourage mingling while buying some extra kitchen time.
  16. When it comes to desserts, stack them on a plate next to forks, spoons, and coffee cups and set your decadent delights aside in another room. As soon as the dinner plates are cleared, you can easily pull out our desserts!
  17. Make sure to have plenty of takeout-style containers handy. You know, the ones you’ll need for leftovers so your guests can take some of the holiday magic home with them.
  18. Set up your own house rules. This one is good: the cook does not clean. Just hire someone to take care of the cleanup while you enjoy your guests.
  19. When you sit down for dinner, why not start a tradition of asking everyone present to share what they’re thankful for.
  20. Go ahead and treat yourself to a glass of bubbly in advance. You deserve a special personal toast for all your hard work!

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By following these 20 tips, I promise you will be hosting a stress-free Thanksgiving that your guests will never forget. Want to add to my 20 tips? I’d love to see your suggestions! Just email them to me at May you and yours have a healthy, happy Thanksgiving!


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