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3 Tips to Host Your First Thanksgiving (Without Losing Your Mind)

Being a first-time Thanksgiving host or hostess can really test your sanity.

By
Richie Frieman,
November 8, 2015
Episode #364

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Fact: As you read this, millions of Americans are franticly preparing for Thanksgiving dinner in one way or another. Whether it’s planning where you’re going to eat, what time you’re going to start, or what will be on the menu, every single person who celebrates Thanksgiving, has turkey on their brain at this very moment.

However, for those of you out there tasked with hosting Thanksgiving dinner, an added level of stress is like an unwanted dollop of Uncle Howard's lumpy gravy. What’s even worse than hosting is when you’re a rookie Thanksgiving dinner host/hostess. That’s right, hosting Thanksgiving dinner for the first time could very well be the Super Bowl (or Turkey Bowl) of all hosting obligations. Yet have no fear: we’re all in this together. So before you overcook that turkey, frantically search Pinterest for the coolest table decorations, and spend hours Googling the best recipe for pumpkin pie, check out my top three Quick and Dirty Tips for How to Host Your First Thanksgiving:

Tip #1: Make It Your Own

The concept of hosting Thanksgiving dinner is much better than actually hosting Thanksgiving dinner. On the surface, we all have romantic ideas about what a perfect Thanksgiving dinner will include: delicious food, a warm ambiance, and holiday cheer throughout. We all want listening to weekly Clever Cookstr episodes to pay off and make us the grandest chefs that ever existed, while your table décor resembles the home of Domestic CEO. Yet sadly, my dear friends this will likely not happen. Sure, Clever Cookstr will give you all the tools you’ll need to make a killer meal, but if this is your first time out the gate hosting Thanksgiving, do not overstress about being awarded the next Top Chef. No matter how much time you spend on Pinterest hunting down the “easiest Thanksgiving DIY décor ideas,” they’re not as easy as it seems, and DIY doesn’t always get done by just yourself. Hear me out; I’m not trying to be a stick in the mud at all! In fact, I love Thanksgiving more than any other holiday. I’m just being realistic and having a proper approach towards Thanksgiving to make for a sane event. Bottom line: don’t drive yourself nuts trying to be the image of perfection. Pace yourself, and properly focus on where your strengths are to make it your own.

The most improper thing a rookie Thanksgiving host/hostess can do is trying to emulate what others (friends, family, bloggers, etc.) have done in the past. When hosting Thanksgiving, you can’t try to replicate something that isn’t in your wheelhouse. Yes, you can stretch your boundaries; just don’t go off the deep end. With relatives and friends expecting to have a delicious meal, focus on your best skills, and call in reinforcements for the rest. For instance, if you can’t cook a turkey, ask another guest for help and make a day of it. Have them come over, reward them with some treats along the way, and properly explain how grateful you are for their help. Same goes for sides or desserts. You won’t lose points. Instead, make sure you nail that one thing you do best, be it any of the aforementioned or just decorations. When it’s your house, it’s your rules, and as long as everyone is happy, then you’ve done your job as a proper host.

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