This year, Ben and I are hosting our first Thanksgiving. For those of you that know me well, you know that we (me more than him, ha!) love to host and entertain family and friends. That being said, Thanksgiving is the big leagues. I feel like all other hosting nights/evening/weekends have prepped us for this one.
Even though it’s our first Thanksgiving, I’ve put together a quick and easy guide to holiday hosting that is almost guaranteed to leave you enjoying turkey day instead of stressing. Whether it’s your first time or your tenth time hosting, here are a few reminders to keep the day as enjoyable and fun as possible.
- Prep the table a few weeks before. For me, prepping the table is always part of my hosting tradition. I like to actually have the table set all year long for different seasons. So right before Thanksgiving, I set our Thanksgiving table. It helps you to get in the holiday spirit and takes one more thing off your plate for the week of.
- Ask every group to bring a side dish or appetizer. Our group size is 11 this year, so it’s a decent size group without being too big. That being said, it’s still a lot of people to feed. I took on the items that mattered most to me and asked people to make the things that truthfully, I am not good at and didn’t have the patience to do. Plus, everyone is so eager and happy to help! Don’t be afraid to take your family and friends up on their offer to bring a side dish or appetizer. You’ll be so grateful when the time comes!
- It isn’t worth the stress. Buy the pies. While this may be up for debate, I’ve never been a baker. I prefer cooking to baking and really always have. So this is really an easy one for me. This year, I took on a lot of cooking and the desserts just did’t seem as important. My grandma is bringing the pumpkin pie (see above) and I bought an apple pie from Costco. Pop it in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes and serve with ice cream and it’s perfection.
- Ditch the wet brine and opt for a dry brine instead. I have to admit, I have never cooked a turkey before this year. So that meant my last week was filled with lots and lots of research. One of my best foodie friends send me this Bon Appetit recipe and of all the recipes I found, this one truly looks like the best.
- Set out drink stations throughout the house. I personally love this trick. It seems so simple, but again, it truly makes such a huge difference when you have a bunch of people at your house for a long period of time. I like to setup a couple different “drinking” stations so people aren’t constantly asking you for water, beer, wine, etc. and they feel comfortable to grab whatever they want. I will do a lemon water station in a carafe, and then fill a cooler with beer and ice for outside. I’ll also pull out a bunch of wine glasses and bottles for a help yourself wine bar. It helps make everyone feel comfortable and less stressful on your end!
- Prep as much as possible the day before so you can put everything in the oven and be done! Ok, ok. I know this one is easier said than done and there will always be cooking required on the day of. But that being said, I will be doing all my chopping, mixing and brining on Wednesday. That means separating the brussel sprout leaves, mixing my artichoke dip, drying out the sourdough bread for stuffing and grading my cheese for homemade mac and cheese. My goal is to relax and enjoy everyone’s company as much as possible on Thursday, and that does not mean spending all day in the kitchen.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends! We hope you enjoy an amazing day with friends and family wherever you’re celebrating.