Whether you're a seasoned pro or hosting for the first time, preparing a Thanksgiving meal can be stressful. From planning your shopping list to drying the last dish, use these tips to pull off a successful holiday gathering with ease.
- Create a budget. Thanksgiving dinner ingredients can add up fast so decide how much you're willing to spend and try to stick to it. Meal planning is key to keeping your costs down. Determine where you want to splurge (organic turkey, top shelf spirits, store bought desserts) and how you can save.
- Finalize your guest list. Confirming who's in and who's out will help you figure out how much food to prepare so you don't overspend.
- Make a game-plan. Create a detailed list of tasks you can tackle in advance to help free up time and precious oven space on the big day. Clip and print coupons, round up extra chairs, and do some light cleaning but remember to get plenty of rest the night before.
- Ask for help. Let's face it, you're going to need a little assistance. Oven space will be at a premium so ask visitors to bring a dish to pass. Solicit helpers in advance that can pitch in to pull it all together and possibly even stay to help with dishes.
- Think about logistics. Ensure you have enough seating, tables, place settings, and a designated area for coats. Even small spaces can easily be transformed by rearranging a few items so get creative.
- Gear up. Having the right kitchen tools and utensils is half the battle in any cooking endeavor. Take stock of the items you have and borrow or invest in what you don't. Use this list of essential Thanksgiving cooking and baking tools as a guide.
- Plan your menu. It's always better to send visitors home with leftovers than run out of food, especially on Thanksgiving. When it comes to buying the turkey, a general rule of thumb is roughly 1.5 pounds for each guest. Remember to consider any dietary restrictions or preferences to ensure there are enough options for everyone. If you're not sure what to make, browse hundreds of recipes on our site to round out the meal.
- Get festive. Create a warm and welcoming environment by properly setting the table. A simple centerpiece, some candles, cloth napkins and your best dishes will do. Click here for D.I.Y. inspiration and entertain in style.
- Have fun! Most of all, it's important to remember that Thanksgiving is a time to relax, reflect, express gratitude and share a meal with family and friends. So do your best and remember to enjoy yourself!