How to Host Thanksgiving Dinner

Ready to host Thanksgiving dinner? Make sure you follow these 3 easy tips from the Domestic CEO.

Amanda Thomas,
October 31, 2012
Episode #035

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Tip #2: Plan Your Thanksgiving Recipes

Once you have at least a couple of RSVPs, it’s time to start planning your menu. If you’ve never hosted Thanksgiving dinner before, or are looking for some new and fresh recipes, hop on over to a recipe website like Food.com or Allrecipes.com and search for “Thanksgiving Recipes.” You will get everything from traditional green bean casserole, to new twists on sweet potatoes. Once you have your recipes written down, start watching your local grocery store ads for sale prices on your ingredients. Most of the ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner go on sale 2-3 weeks before the actual holiday, so stock up early to save!

Another reason to have your Thanksgiving recipes written down is that your guests will inevitably ask, “What can I bring?” If you have your recipes planned out, you can tell them exactly what items you need to fill in the blanks. If you realize that you are low on desserts, ask a friend to bring a pie. If you absolutely hate cooking vegetables, ask your sister to bring her famous corn casserole. And when your vegan friend asks what you’re going to be serving, you can show her the menu and ask if she would like to bring a vegan dish to share with the group.

Tip #3: Cook in Advance

For years, I used to cook everything for Thanksgiving dinner on the day of the meal. It was a little bit of an adrenalin rush for me to make sure everything was coming out of the oven and off the stove at the same time. I would wake up at 7am, start preparing, and get cooking just in time to clean up before our company arrived. I thought this method was great; I even had a timeline that I used year after year. Then, a couple years ago, I wanted to get into the holiday mood earlier, so I started preparing Thanksgiving dinner the Wednesday before the holiday.

The next day, I didn’t quite know what to do with myself. My casseroles were all premade in the fridge, just waiting to go into the oven. My vegetables were chopped and ready to be steamed. And my desserts were just sitting there looking at me. By the time my guests arrived, I actually had my hair and makeup done, which was NOT standard practice in years past. It was so stress-free that I have done it every year since. Obviously some things can’t be cooked early, like the turkey, but almost everything else in the meal can be prepped and ready to just pop on the stovetop or into the oven.

See also: How to Host a Great Party

While it may seem intimidating to host Thanksgiving dinner, armed with these tips and a little planning, I promise that you can do it. Help is there if you need it, either from your mom or the Butterball hotline, so just commit to hosting and get started with your planning. Besides, if you like someone enough to invite them into your home for a holiday, they probably like you enough to forgive you if your turkey comes out of the oven golden brown on the outside, and frozen solid on the inside.

If you have any questions on hosting Thanksgiving dinner, post them in the comments section below, on the Domestic CEO Facebook wall, or find me on Twitter where I’m @TheDomesticCEO. Or, if you’re looking for some recipes to get you started, check out my Thanksgiving Board on Pinterest.

Until next time, I’m the Domestic CEO, helping you love your home.

Apple Pie, Recipe Box and Woman with Pie images courtesy of Shutterstock


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