1.) Accept help from others: While this seems like a simple concept, the misconception that the host/hostess has to do everything is not true. If you are hosting the big meal at your home, ask for help in an area that you feel weak in. If you are good at cooking, but not planning the details of the meal, ask for help from a neighbor or friend.
2.) Search now for deals: To save money and avoid the rush, start looking for holiday sales on holiday foods. Most stores will have displays already up and if you buy a few key ingredients each time you visit the store, you run less risk of the store running out of key ingredients, like cranberries!
3.) Plan your holiday table: The night before Thanksgiving is too late to plan what your table will look like. If you prefer a formal table, assure table linen, napkins, and dinnerware is clean and polished. For a casual table, assure you have the appropriate number of settings for everyone.
4.) Invite guests early: Start making your guest lists now and inviting them. This will help you plan a menu and will give time for your guests to check their calendars. Often time’s people wait until the last minute for Thanksgiving invites, and then are disappointed when guests have made prior plans.
5.) Ask guests to bring a dish: If the thought of preparing the Thanksgiving meal is a little menacing, why not ask your guests to bring a dish? Plan how many people you will have and ask each member to bring a certain item. Keep a running list so you don’t have 20 turkeys and no side dishes!
6.) Ask guests about diet regimens: To ensure everyone can partake in the delicious meal, ask for any diet and/or restrictions they have in advance, so you can plan the menu accordingly. If you aren’t sure what to serve those that have a restriction ask them for suggestions as to what they’d prefer to eat.
7.) Plan for children: Unless your event is restricted to adults, children will need to have activities to do while the parents are socializing. Plan an area with toys, educational items and a television if possible. This will keep everyone happy and help the day be more enjoyable for all those involved.
8.) Plan seating arrangement: If you plan on having a formal meal with assigned place settings, plan this early to avoid a last minute stressful chore. Even if your meal will not have assigned seating, ensure you have enough seats and you consider where children and adults will be seated.
9.) Cook early: Start preparing desserts and side dishes now and freeze the items until a few days before Thanksgiving. This will help you space out the holiday cooking and keep you from getting tired out.
10.) Enjoy yourself amongst your guests: This season is for enjoying your loved ones. If the thought of cooking is too much, consider hiring a caterer or buying food out and heating it up. Grocery stores and restaurants often have Thanksgiving meals you can buy in advance, to make you look like you did all the work!
These 10 tips will help you enjoy the holiday and enjoy the preparation. After all the planning, cooking, and entertaining is what makes the holidays special. Start planning now and reap the benefits from seeing your guests have big smiles on their faces when you offer your hospitality. Holiday entertaining can be better than you imagined.