I LOVE when the season finally turns and it actually feels like fall. The leaves changing and darker colors make me feel warm and cozy and reminds me that Thanksgiving is coming. Every year since we bought our home my husband and I have hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our house. This year, I’m already prepped with a menu (started planning it in September) and I can’t wait to decorate for the family feast. If this is your first year hosting Turkey Day you’ll want to have the items below as part of your dinner setup.
If you’re like me you’ve scrolled Pinterest and fallen in love with any Magnolia or Crate & Barrel tablescapes you’ve seen in the magazines. It can be hard to not want to rush out and buy all new plates and holiday specific decor, but most budgets (including mine) just don’t allow for that. Not to mention the extra steps of running around to collect decor adds stress to your hosting plan. If you’re hosting for the first time this year you may be starting to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of items on your to-do list and the thought of hosting a dinner for multiple people. I’m no pro but I’ve done it a time or two so here are my five best tips for hosting a smooth, low stress Thanksgiving.
5 Tips for Hosting a Low Stress Thanksgiving
Plan your pots, casserole dishes, and serving ware ahead of time. I like to put sticky notes inside each item I know I’m going to use so that anyone coming who wants to lend a helping hand can do so without me having to stop what I’m doing to point out where an item is in the kitchen.
Design your decor and table-scapes around the colors of your home. I don’t love orange or chocolate brown so I don’t buy tons of orange pumpkins brown runners because then I only use them once a year. Instead I infuse my home with the Cinderella pumpkins (faux and real) and use navy as the base for our fall and Thanksgiving decor.
Set out games and entertainment to help keep people occupied. When people are bored they often offer to help which can wonderful if you need it! If you’re like me though, I’m good with one or two people in the kitchen with me. More than that and I start to loose track of what I’m doing and end up burning something or missing an ingredient, ruining a dish, and…well you see the spiral.
Assign family members or ask them to sign up for an item to bring. This helps cut down on two things: A. the cost and stress of you doing all the cooking. B. The number of repeat items or lack of items. It’s hard to enjoy a ham biscuit with ham, three green bean casseroles, and no biscuits.
Pre-measure your ingredients and store in baggies or tupperware. This step is one I’m tried out for the first time last year and it saved me some time and stress in the kitchen. I pre-cut all the turkey stuffing items, bagged, and labeled them so that was one less step I had to do the morning of. This year I’m pre-making my butternut squash soup the day before and measuring out the seasonings for the gravy (which you can’t make until the turkey is cooked).
So if you read my About Me page you know that I admire Joanna Gaines and the businesses she and Chip have built. Also, Target + Hearth + Hand are just the best combos. That makes these trivets (the things that keep your tabletop safe from heat) the best, functional and pretty. You have to have multiple trivets and hot mitts around if you’re hosting a huge feast.
It can be hard after looking at Pinterest to feel like your home is ready for hosting more than four people but there are a couple of items you can have on hand that will make you feel more put together. I love using cloth napkins for dinner, especially holiday dinners. These navy fringe napkins are great to have year round and you can’t beat $9.99 for a 4 pack.
I feel like this is something rare people remember until they are trying to dish up the leftovers to take home. A friend who is coming to Thanksgiving this year offered to bring Tupperware which I thought was genius! These meal prep containers are great for giving someone a little cranberry salad without getting it all over the mac and cheese!
Yes, I know this seems obvious. The first year we hosted though I did not have one of these. I was so used to there just being one available that I hadn’t thought I might need to buy one for my own home.