How to successfully host a Thanksgiving party?
Hosting a Thanksgiving party for family and friends can be a daunting task for the first time host as well as for the more experienced one. As every host, you want everything to be perfect, from food to decorations and you want to do it all on your own! With these easy steps you may actually get to pull this task together and have your sanity at the end of the day too!
- Start by making a guest list ahead of time which will give you enough time to receive responses and plan accordingly. You don’t need to invite everyone you know, start small, especially if this is your first time hosting a Thanksgiving party. You don’t want to feel overwhelmed at the end of the day, but ready to spend time with your guests. And remember there is always next year when you can invite more people if you feel ready for more.
- The next big thing to plan for is your Thanksgiving menu. Once you know who is attending you can plan what you’ll need and how much of it. Have some fun with it, but apply the same caution to the menu that you did to your guest list. Don’t overdo it and don’t under any circumstances go with unrealistic culinary attempts. The best way is to keep things relatively simple.
- Don’t try to be a super hero and don’t be afraid to get your guests involved. Once everyone is invited, and you have an idea of your menu, pick up the phone again and get your guests involved. Find out if anyone has any food limitations. And don’t forget to invite people to pitch in and bring a dish or two. This way you will take pressure from yourself and make your guests feel involved and part of the party as well.
- Next step is to order large enough turkey so that everyone has enough… or more since everyone loves Thanksgiving leftovers. Plan ahead and order your turkey well ahead of time, especially if you want a fresh one. Plan on 1 1/4 pounds per each adult. Also, defrosting a turkey takes a while, at least24 hours for every 5 pounds, so if it’s frozen, remind yourself well before the day arrives to start the process.
- It’s time to create your shopping list. At this point you should know who’s coming, what you’re having, and which guest is bringing which dish. Figure out what you need, and the best way to avoid becoming overwhelmed is to make two separate shopping lists. Make one list of things that you can buy right away like decorations, non-perishables and frozen items. Make another list for last minute things you want to buy fresh.
- Make a seating chart and make sure you have enough space to seat everyone on your guest list. It’s your friends and your family, so you should have a good idea of the personalities coming to the table, and where they will work the best when planing a seating chart.
- Time to clean your home. You’re inviting people into your home, and you have to realize that no one is going to be comfortable if your place is dirty or messy. Don’t wait until the last minute, start working on your home before so that you can be ready for the big day. Pay particular attention to high traffic areas, as well as the bathroom, which should be stocked with fresh linens and a scented candle or automated spray. Or you can always buy a scented room deodorizer that you can plug in.
- Time for some fun, decorating and setting your tables. Use your creativity, but remember don’t go overboard. As with everything else do just enough without overwhelming yourself or your guests. Remember, a few candles, some dried maize and a few colorful gourds go a long way.
- Do last minute shopping from your fresh list. Now is the time to pull it out and get yourself back to the store. And no you shouldn’t really wait till the last minute, but more like day before, or at least during the early morning on Thanksgiving.
- Cooking takes time, and depending on your menu and your kitchen, you’re probably going to have to stagger cooking of some of the dishes. Don’t forget to time and schedule your dishes. This way you will know what is happening when and be on a schedule. Set a time for dinner, preferably about an hour after everyone arrives, and then count backward, writing down the times that everything needs to go into the oven or the microwave.
- With everything that you’ve put into this, it’s easy to lose sight of what this day is all about. Take time to be Thankful and spend time with your family and friends. Thanksgiving is a special time, it is a celebration of family and friends and all that is good or hopeful in our lives. Take a moment before everyone dives into the meal that you have so lovingly prepared to go around the table so your guests can share one thing they’re thankful for.
- And now that all of the hard work is done take time and enjoy yourself with your loved ones. And have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!