Hosting Thanksgiving dinner, especially if you’ve never done it before, can be a bit stressful. Making sure the house is presentable and the food is warm and tasty is no small feat, so to make sure everything gets done in time, planning is key.
A Thanksgiving Tale
In November 2014, when we first moved in to our new home, I took on the crazy task of hosting Thanksgiving for our family. We would normally have held the feast at my in-law’s house, but they had just recently sold their home and were in-between residences. So, I volunteered! I can’t believe I did it. I had amazing help from the family with cooking the traditional dishes, but there was one problem hanging over my head in the days leading up to Thanksgiving – my dining table had not arrived.
Not only was I supposed to host our immediate family, but friends as well, and needed to seat 12. How was I going to seat twelve people for one of the most important holiday feasts if I had no table? Needless to say, I was in a panic. I called the company where I had ordered the table from, and they said it was still in transit. Then I called again and it had been shipped to the delivery company. So I called the delivery company—mind you, this was the day before Thanksgiving. After an hour of getting transferred, and almost breaking down into tears when I told the dispatcher “How am I supposed to have Thanksgiving tomorrow with no table?!” (it was a man who, when he heard the tremor in my voice, probably went into a panic that I was going to have a meltdown), they were finally able to schedule the delivery for that very evening. Excellent!
Aside from the drama with the table, Thanksgiving that year was amazing. I wasn’t even sure how I had pulled it off with so much confusion going on with our move. Then, again in 2016 (a month after I had given birth) I hosted Thanksgiving again. How did it go? It was awesome, for a second time. I knew that it wasn’t just luck, so I decided to figure out what I had done to make it such a success and share it with you all so you could do the same.
How do you win at Thanksgiving? Plan. Even if you’re a go-with-the-flow kind of person, this is the one time of year that you might want to consider mapping out a good game plan so you can actually enjoy the big holiday! This guide is full of just about everything you need to make Thanksgiving the best one yet. Whether your family has passed you the cooking baton or you’re preparing a spread for your friends, hosting your first Thanksgiving can seem a daunting task — but it doesn’t have to be! With a little bit of strategizing and a foolproof menu, you can pull off the big feast without a fuss.
From turkey how-to’s to guest list planning and a detailed 3-week timeline, I’ve done all the research for you in this complete guide. 30+ pages of the best expert tips and foodspiration from Williams Sonoma, Food Network, Martha Stewart, Bon Appetit Magazine, Cook’s Illustrated, Delish, Real Simple Magazine, Whole Foods, The Kitchn, Camille Styles Entertaining, and more.
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