If you can even believe it, Thanksgiving is just a week away. Whether you’re hosting for the first time or just the first time in a while, we want to ensure it’s your best Thanksgiving yet! We’ve compiled some of our favorite tips for hosting from experts around the web so that when next Thursday rolls around, it’s bound to be all gravy.
#1. Prep as much as you can beforehand
Listen, a lot goes into cooking for Thanksgiving – it’s best to prep before the big day. Make a list of everything you plan on cooking, the ingredients you’re going to need and how long it will all take to cook. Then tap into your inner Santa Claus and check the list twice to make sure you’re not running any grocery store errands on the big day.
Some of your dishes will be totally fine if you prep them beforehand so chop vegetables, shake up salad dressings and process those breadcrumbs – anything to help make the day go smoother! If you’re still working on that initial grocery list, check out this list of foods you can prep before Thanksgiving day (and then run to the store ASAP).
#2. Make a timeline of the day
Move over, Mariah Carey, because the Queen of Thanksgiving has spoken and she recommends creating a Thanksgiving timeline. Martha Stewart has a handy breakdown of what you need to cook in the morning and then four, three, two and one hour before serving dinner. If cooking Thanksgiving usually leaves you feeling more mashed than the potatoes, stick with her, kid. She’ll get you through the hustle and bustle of green beans and turkey without all the stress.
#3. Consider buying apps rather than making them
Ina Garten believes in a lot of things, but fussing over appetizers is not one of them. Your guests are coming to Thanksgiving dinner for just that – dinner. Don’t let your day fill up worrying about handcrafting gourmet appetizers that take a lot of extra time on your part. Ina’s personal motto is to make one thing and buy the rest, none of which should be too heavy. Think cheese and crackers or freezable foods.
#4. Be ready for spills
The holidays are fun because you bring out your fancy dishes and cloths and put time into making your home look classy– and then invite a lot of people over. Blame it on the hustle and bustle, the kids or even the wine, but accidents are bound to happen. In those cases, have some stain removal and cleaning products on the ready. Tide to Go is everyone’s hero, paper towels are never a bad move and white wine can even overpower a red if there’s a spill (who knew?). Read up on some cleaning tips here!
#5. Remember to enjoy the day
Hosting can be a lot. You put a lot of time and energy into the big day and it’s easy to forget to actually enjoy it. But at the heart of it, Thanksgiving is about spending time with your loved ones and eating an amazing meal. Make sure to put your own feet up and relax – whether it’s watching the game or playing cards or just catching up with your guests at the end of the day. (Don’t worry, the dishes will be fine in the morning!)