As the Thanksgiving countdown begins, the mere thought of hosting a feast might send shivers down your spine. Fear not, brave host! I’ve developed a list of time-saving organizing tips and tricks that will not only make your Thanksgiving dinner a breeze but also allow you to savor the moments without a hint of guilt. 

From preparing in advance to embracing store-bought gems, and even outsourcing the dishes, this guide encourages you to break free from tradition and create a celebration that fits seamlessly into your lifestyle. 

So, toss aside the turkey-induced stress and let’s carve out a Thanksgiving that’s as enjoyable to prepare as it is to devour. Let’s dive into the giblet-grabbing journey of stress-free Thanksgiving hosting, where the key ingredient is not just the turkey, but a dollop of strategic organization.

Create a Timeline: Develop a detailed timeline for the days leading up to Thanksgiving and the day itself. This helps you stay on track with tasks, from grocery shopping to cooking and decorating.

Cook in Advance: Make as many of the sides as before so all you have to do is ether warm them up if they are pre-cooked or bake them if not pre-cooked.

Don’t Be A Perfectionist: Everything does not have to be made from scratch Store bought pies and dinner rolls are sometimes just as good Another alternative is purchasing pre-made sides from the grocery store many are as good as homemade.

Make It a FriendsGiving: Invite friends that don’t have family in the area. If you have relatives coming they will be on their best behavior and it reduces stress

Don’t Feel Guilty About Your Guest List: Don’t feel obligated to invite family members if it will become a sad or angry event full of conflicts

Pace Yourself:  If you have to go to multiple Thanksgiving dinners eat the entrée at one, veggies at the other and desserts at the last one.

Enjoy A Guilt-Free Day: Relax and have fun. Don’t feel bad saying NO or asking people to help. After all, this is a celebration!

Host a Thanksgiving Potluck: Another idea is to ask your guests to bring their favorite Thanksgiving dish, and you provide the turkey. You provide the turkey or ham and ask friends to bring desserts and wine. I do this every year and my friends bring their own specialties.

Decorate in Advance: Pre-set the table 1-2 days in advance and put serving dishes out so all you have to do is put the food on and fill the glasses.

Stock Up Early November: Purchase everything 2 weeks before. Items will be less expensive, fewer lines, and you know the items will be in stock.

Scrap Tradition This Year: Don’t feel obligated to cook. All the grocery stores have Thanksgiving dinners you can order in advance.

Job It Out: Don’t do what you don’t like to do. If you don’t like to do dishes, order them from Party Plus, and they will drop them off and pick them up, and you don’t have to do the dishes.

Delegate Responsibilities: Don’t hesitate to delegate tasks to willing family members or friends. Whether it’s setting the table, chopping vegetables, or managing music, sharing responsibilities lightens your load and fosters a sense of togetherness.

Prepare for Leftover:Have containers ready for leftovers, and encourage guests to bring their own if you plan on sharing. This ensures an organized post-feast cleanup and provides everyone with a delicious reminder of the day.

Keep the Kids Entertained: If children are part of the celebration, set up a designated area with games, crafts, or a movie to keep them entertained. This allows parents and other guests to relax and enjoy the festivities.

Check Dietary Restrictions: Before finalizing your menu, check with your guests about any dietary restrictions or allergies. This ensures that everyone has a delightful and safe dining experience.

Invest in Disposable Tableware:If you are hosting as a soloist, there is no shame in opting for disposable plates, cups, and cutlery. While it might seem unconventional, it significantly reduces post-meal cleanup, allowing you to spend more time with your guests.

Double-Check Kitchen Supplies: Ensure you have all the necessary kitchen tools, from roasting pans to oven mitts. The last thing you want is to discover a missing utensil while the turkey is in the oven.

Set Up a Beverage Station: Simplify drink service by setting up a self-serve beverage station. Include a variety of drinks, ice, and appropriate glassware to allow guests to help themselves.

Create A Relaxing Ambiance: Enhance the atmosphere with candles or string lights. A warm and inviting ambiance adds a special touch to the occasion and makes your guests feel even more welcomed.

Don’t Hesitate To Ask For Help: Have family and friends all make a dish similar to a “Pot Luck”

Scrap Tradition This Year: Don’t feel obligated to cook. All the grocery stores have Thanksgiving dinners you can order in advance.

Job It Out: Bottom line, this is supposed to be a celebration. Don’t do what you don’t like to do. If you hate doing dishes, order them from a party supply company like Party Plus, and they will drop them off and pick them up, and you don’t have to do the dishes!

Remember, the key is to plan ahead, stay organized, and, most importantly, enjoy the festivities along with your guests. Happy Thanksgiving hosting!

Kathi Burns

Kathi Burns

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