Hosting Thanksgiving is no easy task, but with this handy checklist, you can unleash your inner Martha Stewart and be the perfect holiday host.
Mail out Thanksgiving cards so you can get an exact headcount of everyone that will be sitting at your dinner table. Before you put your invites in the mail, make sure you have enough space in your home for the number of guests you invited. After all, you want to be able to keep everyone comfortable for the event. Here are a few things to mention in your invitations:
- Name of the event
- The date and time of the event
- Location along with directions
- Dress code (casual, dressy or formal)
- Bring a dish to pass (optional)
Plan your menu
When you think about all of the dishes that will end up on your Thanksgiving table, from the roasted turkey and stuffing to corn, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, pumpkin pie, etc., you realize exactly how much food that actually is. While you certainly can, you don't have to tackle all of those dishes yourself. You can ask your guests to each bring a side dish, dessert or bottle of wine to share. Of course, you'll want to get in contact with each guest to make sure everyone brings something different. Cross these other menu planning musts off your list as well:
- Buy the turkey two weeks ahead of time. The host always supplies the turkey, and you'll want to plan on having 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of turkey per person. This will likely leave you with some leftovers (which are oftentimes just as delicious as the original meal).
- Buy staples like sugar, flour, eggs and butter, which will come in handy for almost every dish.
- Purchase diverse ingredients. You might love green beans, but that doesn't mean you should incorporate them into every dish on your table.
- One week before Thanksgiving, pick out wine (or wines) to go with your meal.
- Plan for a severl make-ahead dishes that you can prepare a few days or the day before Thanksgiving to make the holiday a bit less hectic.
Clean out your refrigerator
Many hosts forget about this task, but it's so important, as you're going to need to make room for all of the Turkey day dishes. Throw out all the food that's been sitting in the back of your fridge for who knows how long and organize each shelf so that your staples are easy to locate.
Set the table the night before
You're going to be busy putting the finishing touches on your turkey on Thanksgiving day, so give yourself one less thing to do by setting the table ahead of time. When you set the table the day before, you won't be rushed to perfectly arrange the plates, napkins, centerpieces and place cards exactly the way you want them.
After you've set the table, sit down in each chair to put yourself in your guests' shoes. This way, you'll be able to tell whether or not a centerpiece is in the way so guests can engage in comfortable conversation.
Remember to prepare after dinner treats
Thanksgiving doesn't end after everyone's filled up with turkey and stuffing. Clear everyone's plate to make room for dessert, and begin brewing coffee and boiling hot water for tea. After all, nothing goes better with pie than coffee or tea. Set out milk, sugar and cream to go with the java. Next, serve your dessert.
Fill your sink with soapy water
Add soap and water to your sink so that you have a place to let dirty dishes soak while you and your guests enjoy dessert and more conversation.