Are you nervous about hosting your first Thanksgiving? So you decided to do it! To host a Thanksgiving Dinner for the very first time! If you don’t want to get overwhelmed by the amount of things that need to get done, just follow these few simple tips and everything will turn out great.
Thanksgiving Hosting: Perfect First Thanksgiving Tips
Choose Fool-proof Recipes
After the number of guests is finalized, you should make decisions about what you want to cook and how much you will need. Make sure to know about possible allergies or health conditions of your guest, so you can make informed decisions. After that, ask yourself about what you have experience with and what you are comfortable cooking.
Now it’s time to choose your menu. Stick to a few dishes, you really don’t have to do it all. If you want, ask for help from your guests or family; they could bring a dessert or wine, or a side. Just make sure to know about it early on, so you can plan accordingly. When choosing your dishes and recipes, read them first, check the rating if available and scan through reviews.
Choose only recipes that are fool-prove, with easy to follow directions and that all ingredients can be found fairly easy, preferably at only a couple of places. Ideally, choose recipes you have cooked before or if you have time, make a test-run. Also, make sure you have all necessary equipment at your disposal. But don’t be shy on buying desserts or fresh appetizers from a store if you want. Just make sure that the majority of things served are made by you. The dessert is also really important since it closes the meal and leaves a lasting impression.
Decide on a strategy and stick to it
Now that you have your recipes, work out a strategy and time plan that you will stick to. Of course there should be room for some adjustments if necessary. Make at least two lists of things you need: one for things you can buy several days before Thanksgiving (plates, pantry items, decorations, beverages etc.) and one for things you will need to buy just a couple of days before Thanksgiving (e.g. fresh fruits and vegetables).
Plan your grocery trips carefully, so you save on time and money. Also, make a day – to –day to-do-list where you can write down what needs to get done each day the week before Thanksgiving. Plan ahead for the turkey to thaw (it needs about a full day for each 4 pounds of turkey) and cook ahead of time whenever possible; many things can be frozen or kept in the fridge until it’s time to serve them, just remember to thaw or warm them up in time.
Also, plan in time to clean the house, decorate it and clean and prepare your tableware. If you are awaiting overnight guests, prepare the guestroom at least a week ahead. Check at a glance everything the day before Thanksgiving to ensure everything is in order. Don’t forget your porch or entrance; it’s often the first impression that makes all the difference.
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Think about the flow of Thanksgiving Day
Imagine how the big Day should go, how it should start, where your guest should be at the beginning or where they should take a seat. Make sure to have enough sitting opportunities and spread out serving tables with appetizers and drinks if needed. If you have many guests and want to have a buffet, think about where you will place foods, drinks and tableware.
Also, don’t forget to plan in entertaining details, like music or games for small guests. Write down any details, which will make sure you won’t forget anything and no chaos will be created on the big day. And make sure to have something planned for after the dinner is over, like a late coffee, tea or hot cocoaserving and have some boxes ready if anyone wants to take some leftovers with them.
Don’t leave too many things for the Last Moment
Set the table even days ahead if you can, fold napkins a week before and prepare your decorations sooner than later. Prepare a cleaning kit, so you can attend any emergency cleaning on Thanksgiving without being ashamed of that dirty mop. Wash vegetables and fruits you will need on Thanksgiving days before, strain them or wipe them dry and store them in airtight containers or zip-lock bags in the refrigerator.
Cut foods if possible into the pieces you need and store them until needed. Also make sure everything works and is in good condition. You don’t want to be needing the microwave just to find out it doesn’t work for some reason a few hours before your guests arrive.
Keep control over your First Thanksgiving Day
On the big Day, stick to your plan. Get an early start. Check all rooms and settings for a last time and make any corrections. Prepare your dishes and drinks. Ask your closest friend or family member to help if you need, there is no shame in that! Also, if possible make sure someone is in charge of looking after your guests, if everyone has a drink or if the music needs to be louder.
One last thing to remember is to seek advice from experienced Thanksgiving hosts like your mom or an aunt… there is always something to be learned from the generations before us! So go ahead and follow these tips and it’s sure that your Thanksgiving hosting will be a full success. And of course never forget to have fun and be in a good mood on this special day! After all, the meal is not that important, if you have good times, laughter and fun with your loved ones to remember!
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