I have hosted Thanksgiving dinner for my family in
the past and I feel like I learned a lot each time. Hopefully
learning from my mistakes and using my tips can help you
host the perfect Thanksgiving dinner for your family!
Get your shopping done EARLY!
Waiting until the day or two before to do your
shopping is only going to leave you frustrated, low
on supplies, and, most likely, turkeyless. I have
found it is best to start your shopping about
2 weeks before your dinner.
Appetizers are a must.
If your family is anything like mine then they will probably start showing
up waaaay before the scheduled eating time and, after fasting for days
leading up to Thanksgiving dinner, they certainly appreciate the setting
out of little snackies. My favorite go-tos are meat and cheese trays with
crackers (think charcuterie board!) and deviled eggs..
This is the charcuterie board I helped create at my friend’s 25th birthday
party. This would be perfect as an appetizer for your early guests.
Allow plenty of time for the turkey.
Not only do you want to make sure you allow
enough time to defrost your bird* (because
apparently trying to unthaw your turkey in
the dryer can be disastrous)
but you also want to make sure you start
cooking it at the right time. You want to make
sure to put your bird in the oven with enough
time to cook thoroughly, but not long enough
that it turns into the turkey from A Christmas Vacation.
Below is a great table for helping with cooking times.
*Allow 1 full day for every 4lbs of turkey.
Take the size of your turkey into consideration.
Size does matter when it comes to your turkey.
First and foremost, you want to make sure you
get a turkey big enough to feed everyone
coming to dinner.
Next you need to make sure that your turkey
is going to fit in your oven and that you have
a pan big enough to cook the turkey in. I learned
the hard way on these things and found myself
scrambling Thanksgiving morning for a pan for my
turkey. Save yourself some stress and plan for
all this before the day of.
Create a cooking schedule.
One thing I learned is to try and cook as much
food as you possibly can the day before because
if you only have one oven that is going to be
occupied solely by your turkey for the majority of
the day. Also, trying to cook as much as you can
the day before will save you so much unnecessary
stress on the day of and will (hopefully) ensure you
get food on the table in time. Here is my
Thanksgiving is not the time to be fancy
Cooking a huge Thanksgiving feast is not the
time to be trying new recipes or learning new
things in the kitchen. Stick to what you know and
save the homemade butter for another time.
I really did make my own butter for a holiday dinner one year. lol
Don’t be a turkey and try to do too much
I have a problem with constantly trying to do more
than I probably should, especially when it
comes to hosting events, and that has gotten
me into some pretty stressful situations. So learn
from my mistakes and know what you can handle
and plan ways to make hosting this holiday dinner
a more manageable feat! For instance, you could turn
your dinner into a potluck. (I did this for my Friendsgiving and it
was perfect! Article here). Make as much of the
food ahead of time as possible and choose simple
decorations (fall house tour here). Forget about seating charts and
place-cards…let everyone sit where they want!
Oh and don’t wait till the last minute to
clean the house or get ready.
Brine your turkey
This is a Thanksgiving dinner game changer
hands down. Find yourself a large stockpot, fill it
with salt water, and throw in your
turkey. You will never look back!
Use this link for more information on how to brine your turkey.
What are your tips for hosting a Thanksgiving
dinner? Do you enjoy hosting Thanksgiving
dinner? Have you hosted before? Let me
know in the comments.