Feast on This: 7 Tips for Throwing the Best Thanksgiving … Ever

It’s crunch time … that is if you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year. Don’t worry, there’s still time to get everything done before your house fills up with hungry family and friends. Whether this is your first year hosting or your 10th, here are seven helpful tips for making this the best Thanksgiving ever!

#1 Delegate, delegate, delegate
Don’t try to do everything by yourself, because you’re bound to get overwhelmed! Keep a list of the things you need to get done, so if someone asks if you want help you can say “yes” and tell them exactly what you want them to do.

#2 Create a menu
Even if you’ve cooked a Thanksgiving meal before, it’s a good idea to plan out all of your dishes in advance. Create a shopping list from all of the recipes to prevent any last minute trips to the store for forgotten ingredients. Note cooking times and temperatures so there aren’t any surprises on the day of. Also, be mindful of food allergies like dairy and gluten. It’s a good idea to plan a couple side dishes without these ingredients.

#3 Count on a few extra mouths to feed
Inevitably there will be a couple of people added to the guest list at the last minute. Avoid panic later by planning enough food for a few unexpected guests now. If you don’t have extra guests, then that extra food will make great leftovers. Let’s be honest, Thanksgiving leftovers are the best.

#4 Make sure you have enough seating
Speaking of planning for surprise guests, make sure you have a few extra seats too. Have card tables and folding chairs on hand just in case. If you’re planning for a really big crowd, renting tables and linens may be the way to go.

#5 Don’t get stuck with a cold turkey
Make sure to plan enough time for the turkey to defrost, especially if it’s a big bird. Turkey experts (they do exist!) recommend planning one day of thawing in the refrigerator for every four pounds. For example, a 10 pound bird would take two and half days to thaw. This will ensure your turkey is ready for the oven on the big day. Expert tip: place the turkey in a shallow pan to defrost so it doesn’t make a mess in your refrigerator!

#6 Stock the bar (cart)
Now is a good time to stock up on mixers, cups, cocktail napkins, wine and anything else you think guests might need. A bar cart is the perfect solution for holiday parties because it can be rolled out of the way to create more space. Don’t have a bar cart? Take a look at this one that also doubles as an island and has plenty of storage for all your drink necessities.

#7 Start a tradition
Make Thanksgiving memorable by starting a tradition. It could be a post-meal game of flag football, a table discussion of what everyone is thankful for or venturing out to get a Christmas tree!