We’re gearing up for our traditional Thanksgiving dinner at Katie’s house, and I cannot wait. For us, Thanksgiving means hanging out at Katie’s all day while cooking and hosting, doing fun activities with the kids, watching football, and enjoying the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s so much fun, and we all love it! We dust off the kids’ bounce house and do cute art projects throughout the day. Dinner is served around 6pm. And after the kids go to bed, the adults enjoy some cocktails and cigars to end the day. Although fun, Thanksgiving dinner is a HUGE undertaking and can be overwhelming to host. So today, I’m giving everyone some of my ultimate tips on hosting a no stress Thanksgiving.
Throwing the Ultimate No Stress Thanksgiving
We’ve thrown a lot of these parties now, so I have a whole list of tips to make hosting these get togethers as stress free as possible. So let’s get started!
1. Choose a menu you can make ahead of time and have ready when guests arrive.
For instance, do NOT make something like individual custom omelettes. Planning a menu that avoids you standing over the stove cooking while all your guests arrive is very important. Missing out on guests is not fun for you and creates a stressful environment for your guests watching you cooking and not enjoying yourself.
People get uncomfortable and feel badly when watching the host run around cleaning and preparing. But if you have everything organized and prepared before your guests arrive, you will avoid the awkwardness. And you’ll get to enjoy your feast with your friends and family!
2. Set the table, decorate, and place serving platters the night before the party.
I write what I am serving on an index card and include the time I need to set it out or place it in the oven. I also include how long the dish needs to cook and then place it on the platter I plan to use for that dish. It eliminates one step on the day of the party and helps me visualize the timing and set up.
3. Keep a folder with all the details.
My folder consists of the the number of guests, the menu, and all of my recipes for the day. As I make each item, I toss out that recipe. I love to watch the stack of paper get smaller and smaller!
4. Clean up the prep work as you go.
If you clean as you go, you’ll have much less work at the end of the party. Plus, you’ll have a clean kitchen to hang out in after dinner! Without fail, everyone wants to hang out in the kitchen and socialize (one of the major reasons why open living homes are so popular). So if the kitchen tends to be the hangout spot, make sure it looks nice, inviting, and organized by the time your guests arrive.
5. Have appetizers ready before everyone arrives.
Have a drink, and start socializing with your guests when they come in. If possible, avoid cooking, cleaning, and preparing when everyone is there. All you should need to do is place the main course on the table for eating when it is ready to be served.
You’ve worked hard! Enjoy the cocktail hour with your guests!
6. Wait to do the final clean up…then wait some more.
When everyone is eating the main course and the meal is coming to an end, do NOT start picking up the empty plates and cleaning dishes. Cleaning up brings the conversations to an end. Your guests feel like they need to stop, help, or even leave. Leave the final cleaning for after all your guests are gone.
Believe me, this tip will have your guests hanging out, laughing, chatting, and enjoying your no stress Thanksgiving dinner for much longer.
Final Thoughts on Hosting a No Stress Thanksgiving Dinner
I hope these tips help your party run smoothly, and most importantly, help create a fun laid back atmosphere for you and your guests. Remember, these parties are to make memories, so enjoy the company and the atmosphere. It shouldn’t feel like a chore. And if you feel like it’s work and stressful, your guests will feel that way, too.
I hope everyone has an amazing fun holiday with family and friends. Although the food, hosting, and parties are a huge part of the holidays, Thanksgiving is truly about spending quality time with your family and making the moments unforgettable. I am grateful every day for my family and friends!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. We all hope you have an amazing holiday!