This Family’s Top Tips For Hosting A Large Stress Free Thanksgiving

Hi everyone!  We’re gearing up for our traditional Thanksgiving dinner at Katie and Matt’s house  and I cannot wait.  For us, Thanksgiving means hanging out at the Friedman’s all day while Katie’s husband, Matt and I are cooking and hosting, doing fun activities with the kids, watching football, and of course the Macy’s Day parade which is so fun and we all love it.   We like to dust off the kid’s bounce house that is stored away in our garage, and do some cute art projects with them throughout the day. Dinner is served around 6pm and after the kids go down, the adults enjoy some cocktails and cigars to end the day. Although so fun,, Thanksgiving is a HUGE undertaking and can be overwhelming to host.  Today I just wanted to give everyone some last minute tips on trying to keep the hosting stress free and fun. 

Tips For Hosting A Stress Free Thanksgiving

Related: How to Host a Large STRESS FREE Party – using the Best Chimichurri Sauce!

1) Choose a menu that can be made ahead of time and that will be ready when your guests arrive. For instance, do NOT plan on something like individual custom omelettes. A menu that avoids standing over the stove cooking while all your guests are arriving and hanging out is very important. That 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 they are watching the host running around, cleaning, and preparing. I am sure anyone who has hosted gets asked the same question over and over, “Is there something I can do to help?” Obviously you are the host, you are not going to avoid preparing and getting everything set up. Just try and have everything organized and prepared before your guests arrive.
2) Set the table, decorate, and place the serving platters out the night before the party. I write what I am serving on an index card and include the time it is going to be set out, or placed in the oven, and for how long, and place it on the platter I am using for that dish. It’s eliminates one step on the day of the party and helps you visualize the timing and set up.
3) I always create a folder for each big party I host. The folder consists of the the number of guests, the menu, and all of the recipes. As I make each item, I throw out the recipe. I love to watch the stack of paper get smaller and smaller!
4) Clean as you go. When your guests arrive you should already have all the dishes that you used to cook with cleaned and put away. The only thing sitting out should be the food and platters to serve on. This leaves much less to do at the end of the party. 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 then make sure it looks nice, inviting, and organized.
5) Have the appetizers sitting out before everyone arrives. Have a drink and start socializing with your guests when they come in. Try to 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. Enjoy the cocktail hour with your guests (my favorite part)!
6) Wait for 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 and end and your guests feel like they need to stop, help or even leave. Believe me, try this tip and your guests will hang out, sit and enjoy for longer. Leave the cleaning until all your guests are gone.
I hope these tips help your party run smoothly and most importantly create a fun laid back atmosphere for you and your guests. Remember these parties are to make memories, enjoy the company and the atmosphere. It shouldn’t feel like a chore. And if you feel like it’s work and stressful, than your guests will feel that way too. Don’t forget to check out some of my favorite serving dishes in the collage below. Happy Hosting!

I hope everyone has an amazing fun holiday with family and friends.  However, I have to say that 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 everyday for my family and friends which is truly what gives my life meaning and happiness.  Hug them and remember how lucky we are to have them.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone and hope you have an amazing holiday!

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