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Are you hosting your very own Thanksgiving for the first time this year? Hosting and cooking this great American meal is a big milestone for any cook, but it also can be a moment of some anxiety and nerves! Well you’re in luck—I’ve put together my best tips to help ease your nerves, stay organized and enjoy Thanksgiving Day with your closest friends and family.
“Look for small moments of gratitude in a busy, loud but delicious holiday.”
Never Turn Down Help – Keep in mind that this holiday can totally be a potluck affair, that’s the best thing about it! Let your friends, neighbors and family bring their favorite dishes to help ease your stress. Delegation is the key here! Pick the dishes that are important to you and ask your guests to contribute everything else. You can even divide and conquer. Don’t be afraid to reach out and let those around help you in planning and preparing the meal for everyone to enjoy! It’s helpful to have guests to bring items that don’t require using the oven upon their arrival. Mashed potatoes can be in a crock pot, and those that may not be up to cooking can be drinks, rolls, pie or whip cream for all to enjoy!
Make Items Ahead Of Time – Of course the one thing about planning your meal is not just the meal itself but making sure that everything comes together! Don’t rush. Try to plan dishes that you can make ahead of time, and even if you can’t make a full dish, look for various ways to get a head start, like toasting nuts or breadcrumbs.
Set The Table – Decorating is fun but can be overwhelming to some. Try to set it ahead and have your goal in sight all day. I love adding a cute tablecloth and cute props throughout, not just the centerpiece but the plates themselves! Pumpkins always add a festive touch as well as cozy pillows for a relaxed atmosphere. If you can decorate in the week leading up to Thanksgiving, even better!
Start Early On Non-Food Prep – Going along with setting your table, think of what you want to serve everything on. Pull out those serving dishes to wash the night before, and make sure you have enough for everyone coming. Extra silverware, napkins and cups should all be accounted for. You’ll want to wipe down everything before decorating the table as well. My favorite counter tops are from Premier Surfaces! They are located in the Atlanta area and offer a variety of various counter tops for all your hosting needs such as marble, limestone and wood. I always receive so many compliments on them when friends and family come over for gatherings and it’s the perfect excuse to show them off!
Have Drinks Ready to Go – Have a few bottles of wine chilling in the fridge or a festive pitcher of sangria ready to be poured once your guests arrive. If everyone enjoys a cold glass of their choice, they’ll be fine if dinner is served
an hour later than planned! Am I right?
Purchase Fun Items – Thinking of decor, I think it’s fun to bring a few festive pieces to the table. For example, this gold watch adds a rustic but timeless feel to it. Adding cute napkins or sticking to a color scheme like oranges, browns, red and yellows is a great way to tie everything together! Bring some of your personality out too – your guests will love it!
Buy Various Parts Of Your Meal – If you’re not a great baker or hate preparing certain foods, go ahead and buy some from a specialty grocery store! We have a cute bakery near my home that I love to purchase pies from because they are homemade and smell amazing! I don’t think there is anything wrong with purchasing a few parts of your meal, especially if it makes you feel more relaxed. So many of my friends and family say this is key when hosting Thanksgiving! Also, take advantage of delivery services, which are super convenient, especially this time of year. Here are several grocery delivery services in the Atlanta area.
Have Fun and Be In The Moment – My most important tip for hosting Thanksgiving is to try and relax. Remember that everyone gathered on this special day is because they are wanting to be there with and for one another, not to be entertained. Ask for help, laugh and remember the turkey can rest for an hour while you finish everything else. Look for small moments of gratitude in a busy, loud but delicious holiday. Above all else, know that you were able to have everything come together, even if you had a few mishaps along the way!