Have you ever hosted Thanksgiving and had it stress you out? Are you thinking about hosting Thanksgiving but don’t know where to start? This checklist will help you get started on a low stress, hosting experience. I just started hosting Thanksgiving 4 years ago, and I had no idea how intense it would be. I personally host anywhere from 14 – 18 people. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do it and I was so excited when my family passed it over to me. Here at B : we talk about whole mind, body, and soul healthy and happy. Cooking, specifically for others, is my love language. It makes me happy. There is something about having all of the people you love in one place and enjoying each other’s company. When I’m cooking, I get to take in the moments like a fly would sitting on the wall. Picture sappy music playing in the background and everyone’s laughter muffled. That’s what I see and hear, and it seriously warms me inside. So again, when I had the chance to host at my house, and be a part of what food does best; bringing people together, I jumped at the chance.
Now I’m a checklist maker and big time planner so that was helpful for my first time. If you don’t naturally come by that, I would highly suggest it. At least for your first time around at a big event like this. Here’s just a few things that went wrong at my first Thanksgiving:
- I didn’t have nearly enough décor, plates, or serving wear.
- I didn’t remember to invite everyone ha ha… one of those, I thought so and so would tell so and so… everyone ended up there but even with family, they have to know they’re invited
- The turkey was late and dry. It was edible but man was it dry. Wouldn’t matter to me now ha ha because I don’t eat meat but I do like my guests to be happy!
- My kitchen was a disaster zone. I had planned timing but as it all came together in the end, bammmm… explosion zone.
- I forgot to put in time for rolls so they went in as everyone sat down. That would be fine but then with all of the commotion, we didn’t notice they were done until we smelled them burning.
- I had SOOOOOOO much décor on the tables, there was hardly any room to eat.
- I had too much food.
Now, I know that list looks long, and I think even a couple other things went wrong too but it was still an amazing Thanksgiving. I learned so much and everyone had a great time. I think the only thing my family even noticed was that the rolls were burnt and the turkey was dry. Everything else? No one was any wiser. So that leads me to step 1 of planning out your first or 50th , stress-reduced (notice I don’t say stress-free) Thanksgiving.
- Give yourself a break – Everything, even with mishaps, will turn out great.
*Number one is by FAR the most important to remember*
- Take time off
If you haven’t done it yet, take at least 1 day if not 2 off. You’ll need time to grocery shop close enough to the day that stuff doesn’t go bad. You’ll also want time to clean and prep your home. Also, Thanksgiving is supposed to be a break, but when you are hosting there’s a ton of work. Make sure that you get some time for yourself, like others will be getting on Thanksgiving day.
- Ask for help
Your hubby/partner is the perfect person to help but you may need at least one other set of hands. Take a look at your menu and plans and decide whether it makes sense to ask a family member to come over. For me, it’s such a special time for my Aunt Karen and I. Since I’ve been little, Thanksgiving baking or prepping is our bonding time, and I wouldn’t trade those memories for the world. She’s also extremely calming when shit hits the fan ha ha.
- Plan your meal ahead of time and assign small items to your guests if that helps
People always want to know how they can help, so let them! Egg nog, waters, deviled eggs, bread… these are simple items that can really help cut your cost but are so necessary to complete your dinner!
Take into consideration how many items need the oven or stop top. Try crockpots and frying for alternatives.
My favorite stuffing crockpot recipe: https://houseofyumm.com/crockpot-cranberry-apple-stuffing/ — I actually used King’s Hawaiian brand Herb and Onion Stuffing mix for the bread crumbs. It was amazing! Don’t be afraid to add a little extra stock if it is drying out while you cook.
Deep fried turkey… NO EARLY WAKE UP, NO DRY BIRD.. WIN WIN
Some people have special diet needs or just special likes in general. We always make some sort of red meat for my aunt, because she likes it, and we like her 🙂 You don’t have to take everything into consideration but you do want to make people comfortable.
DON’T FORGET DESSERT SIDES!!! I’m talking about vanilla ice cream and whip cream… if you are going to have pie it’s a must but always looked over. And the coffee to go with it?!? Don’t forget the details.
Speaking of details: Condiments and drinks for the table are the first to be forgotten. Also, try to stick with a certain style of food so it goes together well.
It’s all in the details 🙂 Check out products and resources section for link to buy these pretty bottles!!
- Write out a schedule – both for the day of and the days leading to the big Turkey day!
The turkey is the hardest part. This website has a nice chart to help you out and know how long to cook per pound. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-long-to-cook-a-turkey-per-pound_us_56566cc5e4b072e9d1c1c469
What time will people arrive? You may need appetizers if you ask them to come before dinner is served.
- Take out all of your serving wear, décor, plates, etc. ahead of time
Common things you might forget: Turkey baster, carving set, meat thermometer, enough large spoons and forks for serving side dishes.
Be patient with your collection. You may not have a full set of everything you need the first year. You’ll add a little more each year. Try borrowing from friends and family until you do. Disposable clear plates look nice and are easy to clean up until you can afford your own china set. Even if you can afford to drop thousands on an entire spread, do you have the time, or know everything you need right now?!?!
Decide if you will be doing all Thanksgiving decor or Christmas. I personally switch over to Christmas but small touches. I like to use natures point of view of the season.
*See below for the rest of our favorite décor pieces out this year*
- Have your house cleaned
This one is not necessary because hosting can get really expensive. If you can afford it, 1 day out of the year, this is the time to do it. It really takes the stress off.
That’s it! You are ready to go! Having whole mind, body, and soul happiness means focusing and doing things that make you happy. Hosting is a happy place for me, I can’t help but B : in the moment. Remember that everything in your life that you do impacts your core in a positive or negative way. Do the things that bring you joy and make you feel good. B : you and everything that means; including being the hostess with the mostest 😉
Any questions? Comment below or send us a message.
Our Favorite Picks to add to your serving collection this year: