Enjoy a hassle-free Thanksgiving Day with some simple strategies. While putting together a holiday celebration can be a challenge, a little preparation can make things much easier. We’ve put together a guide to help you plan your holiday celebration from start to finish:
It’s important to know who’s attending your Thanksgiving celebration ahead of time. Write a list who you want to invite and either send formal invites or go informal with the process. If you’d rather go high-tech instead of sending paper invitations, email your guests with an invite. For your closest friends and family members, you can call or text. No matter how you decide to invite people, ask for an RSVP before you shop for food so you know how much you need.
If your family wears formal holiday clothing, such as dresses, slacks and other dressier types of apparel, you may want to mention it to any guests who are new to the celebration this year so that they won’t feel out of place. If you and your crew prefers comfy sweats, women’s or men’s jeans or other casual wear, that’s a good thing to tell your guests so they’re comfortable and don’t overdress for the occasion.
Some of your guests may have particular dietary needs. While you may already know about your family and your usual Thanksgiving guests, it helps to ask anyway in case anyone’s dietary needs have changed. You’ll also want to ask about any dietary restrictions for plus-ones—aka guests of your guests. Some may be vegetarian or vegan, or there may be guests who need a gluten-free or diabetic-friendly fare.
The meal is the star of most Thanksgiving celebrations, so it helps to plan ahead to simplify things. Even if you know what you’re serving, make a checklist just in case anything slips your mind during the holiday hustle and bustle. Turkey is a traditional Thanksgiving entrée, although you can also prepare a vegan or vegetarian entrée for guests who require it.
Side dishes are another important part of your Thanksgiving meal. You can keep things classic with holiday favorites such as mac-and-cheese, green beans and mashed potatoes. Stuffing—either in the turkey or on the stovetop—and sweet potatoes are also traditionally served for this holiday.
When it comes to dessert, pumpkin pie is usually a crowd favorite. You might also have a certain type of pie or cake you make every year. You can even ask your guests to bring a dessert or other item if they would like. Many people serve coffee with dessert; if you’re planning to do so, offer decaf for guests who don’t consume caffeine and hot chocolate for the kids.
Artfully presented appetizers can help tide guests over until the main event. Even a tray of fruits and or veggies with dip—or crudites as they’re known—are a thoughtful touch. You can add sliced cheeses, meats and crackers to the mix for guests to nibble on.
Another thing you can do ahead of time is go shopping. Many Thanksgiving foods—such as turkey and pre-prepared dishes—can be frozen until you’re ready. Just make sure to make a note of the day you’ll need to put your turkey in the refrigerator to thaw, so it’ll be ready to cook when you are.
You might also want to pick up a new outfit for Thanksgiving, or even more than one. Women’s sweatshirts and sweatpants are comfortable when cooking, then you can freshen up and change into jeans and a fall-hued sweater or any other outfit you prefer before guests arrive.
If you haven’t already put out your Thanksgiving décor, there’s no better time than the present. By decorating early, you have more time to do other tasks. Plus, you’ll also have more time to relax and enjoy the holiday season.
Many fall décor pieces are stylish and functional. There are autumn arrangements you can decorate the mantel with and candles for creating a soft glow, but you can also decorate with tablecloths and dinnerware. For example, a tablecloth or runner with a fall print protects your table and adds to the festive ambiance.
You can even spruce up the bathroom for Thanksgiving. Monogrammed hand towels from Lands’ End’s Monogram Shop impart the high-end look of a luxury hotel, plus a set makes a great host or hostess gift if you’re attending any holiday celebrations yourself. Hand soap in a decorative pump bottle is another thoughtful touch guests can appreciate.
It’s likely you’ll thank everyone for coming after your Thanksgiving celebration, but it’s also a nice touch to send out thank you cards. You can find cards with matching envelopes with a fall or even a Thanksgiving theme. Once your Thanksgiving dinner is done, you can start planning for winter holidays by shopping for Christmas and Hanukkah gifts , along with items for your New Years’ Eve party.