Thanksgiving is a meal that can strike fear in the heart of even the most organized homemaker. Hosting it doesn’t have to be stressful, though. Thanks to a few tricks, a little planning and a game-day strategy, you’ll be able to keep your cool on the big day. Here are some essential tips for hosting a holiday party without ever breaking a sweat, helping you plan not only for Thanksgiving, but for any holiday meal you may be hosting.
Make a Plan
Take a deep breath. Get out some paper and a pen. Figure out the following: how many people will be attending? Where will the meal be served? What is your comfort level in the kitchen–do you have go-to recipes? If so, make them a part of your meal. Figure out your menu, and identify things that can be made ahead of time, and then actually make them ahead of time. If you don’t have any idea what to serve, start here. If you even think you have people attending with dietary restrictions, find out exactly what they are and adjust the menu accordingly.
Do not be too proud. This is important. Nothing ensures a Thanksgiving hosting disaster like biting off more than you can reasonably chew. If someone offers to come over and help you move your furniture around, say yes. If a friend needs somewhere to go and feels like they need to earn their keep by swinging by the liquor store for wine and beer, let them. Grandma still wants to make her cranberry sauce? Yes, please bring it.
In hosting Thanksgiving, as in so many other facets of life, boundaries are important. Send invitations clearly stating the time you’d like guests to arrive. Demand that they RSVP. If people are staying overnight, you need to know that, and if you are not equipped to host guests for a night, they need to know that. Stray guests arriving two hours early can wreck your carefully planned prep-time, and unexpected overnight guests might be the last thing you want after it’s all over and you just want to curl up on the couch and drink the rest of the bourbon.
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