Use Our Thanksgiving Checklist Within Our FREE Holiday Planner to Help Eliminate Stress This Thanksgiving!
Hosting Thanksgiving dinner…hosting such an event can be overwhelming and joyous all at the same time. Thankfully our hosting Thanksgiving checklist will help you create a wonderful holiday experience!
I speak from experience on this topic because for the last 10 year I have hosted Thanksgiving every year for my family and friends. Although it gets easier each year, I always worry about messing up the turkey or not having enough food.
My experience in hosting Thanksgiving has taught me a few things, so I want to share some tips and tricks to make the holiday enjoyable rather than stressful.
Whether this is your first time hosting Thanksgiving or you've done it for years, this list of tips will help you!
Create a meal plan
Creating a meal plan for Thanksgiving is key! Really, in order to prepare for the big day, you need to have a meal plan ready ahead of time. That also gives you time to gather and try any new recipes that catch your eye.
In addition, share this meal plan with your guests to help with dividing up the cooking responsibilities and alert everyone to potential allergy issues.
These 15 Pumpkin Desserts are Amazing!
If you need some additional inspiration, check out my Pinterest Boards for some great ideas.
Pro tip: Please please don't use Thanksgiving as the day to experiment with brand new recipes and twists on dishes for the first time!
People generally think of traditional dishes for Thanksgiving (they are a “must” in my family and riots ensue whenever anyone mentions trying a new dish). If you do manage to try a new dish – please, please “test drive” it beforehand.
Grab my Free Holiday Planner to help plan your menu, who will be bringing which dishes, plan your grocery shopping and much more!
Let Others Help You Cook and Provide Food Items
Don’t feel like you have to do everything all by yourself on Thanksgiving. That's a ton of work, expense, and stress.
This is one of the reasons why having a meal plan is crucial to your success. Knowing how many guests are coming and what will be served will allow you to assign dishes to others and let you fill in the gaps.
I hold the Thanksgiving feast host at my house, and my guests all bring dishes to contribute toward the meal. They also help me prepare the food I am responsible for (I love that part!) 🙂
In my family, my mom, my sister and I divide up the meal between us. We each provide food and prepare dishes.
For example, I usually provide and prepare the turkey. Because that is the single most expensive dish, my mom and my sister usually take care of the casseroles, potatoes, rolls, appetizers, drinks, etc.
I'll also provide the stuffing (because it's cheap) and the desserts (because I'm the only one who makes them).
Grab my FREE Holiday Planner to keep track of who is coming and what they are bringing!
Supplement with store-bought items
Don’t feel pressured to make everything from scratch. I may make the gravy from scratch, but I buy the stuffing. That's right – I cook the bird without stuffing and make stuffing on the stove top. As a side note, I have also bought it from Costco in the past 🙂
I also buy our rolls and cranberry sauce each year from the store rather than making them.
Prepare your tableware one week before Thanksgiving.
Take inventory of your tables, chairs, plates, cups, silverware, tablecloths, napkins, platters, serving dishes, and serving utensils. I recommend doing this about a week before Thanksgiving to give you time to fill in any gaps.
Try to borrow anything you may be missing. I always try to have a few disposable tupperware-type dishes for guests to take food home with them. That's one thing I never have enough of, so I always ask them to bring a few extra with them.
Wash, iron and prepare anything you can then as well to make the holiday easier.
Our FREE Holiday Planner will help you stick to helpful timing to prepare for the holiday!
Make as much as you can the day before
I have found it to be incredibly helpful to prep as must as possible the day before Thanksgiving.
That's when I finish cleaning, make the desserts and do one final check to make sure that I have everything I need for the big day.
Plan Your Cooking Timeline
Another important step is to take a few minutes and plan out how the meal will all come together.
I have personally found that the turkey and gravy always take longer than I expect them to take. I usually bake the turkey then pull it out when it's done and while it's sitting and I'm making the gravy, I use that time to heat up the premade casseroles and side dishes.
Pro Tip: We like to eat around 1 or 2pm. Since we don't eat at an evening meal time, my ace in the hole for not having to start the turkey at 4am is the Turkey Oven Bag. It makes cooking the turkey so easy, fast, keeps it moist, and helps with clean up!
Make sure to have an appetizer ready to go when guests arrive.
Keep it small, but have something ready to go so guests are happy while you are finishing up the meal.
We often like to have a cheese, salami, and cracker platter with a variety of cheeses and crackers.
This Baked Brie En Croute is fabulous too!
Our FREE Holiday Planner will help you plan out your meals and grocery lists!
Relax and Have Fun
A good deal of work goes into preparing the Thanksgiving feast. So once dinner is served, take some time to enjoy the meal and time with friends and family.
In our family we tend to have a long meal then watch a little football before cleaning up. Once we clean up the bulk of the dishes and divide up the leftovers (giving our food time to digest), we usually eat dessert 🙂
Many years of hosting Thanksgiving dinners have taught me a lot! I have found these 8 tips to be essential items for your hosting Thanksgiving checklist. Don't worry if things don't go perfectly – simply focus on the things you have to be thankful for (it is Thanksgiving, afterall!).
Be sure to grab your FREE Holiday Planner with the included hosting Thanksgiving checklist to help you organize your Thanksgiving dinner this year!
Tell us in the comments below: What is the most stressful part of Thanksgiving for you?
Read These Related Helpful Posts: