So you've decided to host Thanksgiving this year! We give you major kudos because most people find cooking a holiday meal pretty intimidating. Besides all of the turkey, sides, desserts, wine, and eccentric family members, this holiday is all about celebrating our blessings with the ones we love most. Here are Mixbook's 10 tips to ensure a stress-free and full-bellied Thanksgiving party.
1. The hosting basics.
We've created an infographic to get you started on the delicious task at hand. Keep these tips in mind and you'll be off to a great start.
2. Make it a potluck.
Depending on the size of your gathering, asking guests to bring a piece of the meal will save you a lot of time and money. You'll have a lot of to-do's on your list, and guests will be more than happy to contribute a side dish or bottle of wine to the party.
3. Take the time to socialize.
According to Jennie-O, almost a third of Thanksgiving hosts spend only two hours or less socializing. By planning ahead and prepping as much food as you can the previous day, you'll be able to enjoy the company and the holiday. Don't let yourself be held up in the kitchen while everyone else is having a good time. You've earned it, so be sure to make time to celebrate along with everyone else.
4. Don't forget about the kids.
What about the kids? If your Thanksgiving includes little ones, plan some fun things for them to do while the adults socialize. Painting gourds and collecting fall leaves for the centerpiece are entertaining activities. And if you’re not afraid of glue, those leaves and a little brown construction paper can be turned into some lovely, homemade turkeys. Also, don’t forget to teach gratitude. Put your little ones on the job of collecting a list of what your guests are thankful for. Reading the list for grace or during the meal is always a lovely touch.
5. Photograph as much as you can.
Maybe you have a teenage relative or hipster cousin who's good with a camera. Assign him or her to snap photos throughout the celebration. It'll be a fun surprise to see the great photos taken at the end of the night. Surprise your family members with a beautiful Mixbook photo book for Christmas using the photos that were taken.
6. Set the table a day or two ahead.
What you can get done days prior to Thanksgiving will be a blessing! Setting the table is a very important and creative task for the host. Use Succulent Pumpkins as plate toppers or name card holders. They are a modern and vibrant addition to your dinner table.
7. Be mindful of pets.
Although they are members of our family, pets require certain care during holiday gatherings. If your pet gets anxiety during parties, provide them with a quiet escape so they can be comfortable. If your pet won't stop begging for scraps be sure to avoid feeding them harmful items on Thanksgiving. This includes: turkey bones, chocolate, garlic and onions, alcohol, certain nuts, and grapes. For more info read this article by the ASPCA here. This is my dog's quiet area during the holiday madness:
8. Take a coffee break after the big meal.
Serving coffee at the end of the meal will give you time to clear the table before dessert begins. Use this time, with a few helping hands, to start rinsing plates and prepping the dishwasher. Your guests will appreciate the break to digest their meals. Now you're able to set up the dessert table without having the kitchen sink overflowing with dirty dishes. Coffee saves the day as usual!
9. Leftovers are the best party favors.
In order to restore sanity to your overworked kitchen, ask guests to take food home with them. Piles of leftovers will only go to waste if you keep them in your refrigerator. There are so many delicious recipes they can make using Thanksgiving leftovers. You may also donate your leftovers to the less fortunate. Research your local food bank or soup kitchen and see if they'll accept some of your home cooked Thanksgiving meal. They'll be very thankful you called.
10. Get ready for the Mixbook.com Black Friday Sale!
After all is cooked and eaten, you deserve some curled-up couch time. Lucky for you, you can join our Black Friday sale from the comfort of your home! Sign up for our email newsletter to get inside access to the exclusive sales this year and beyond. After all, it's officially Christmas time the day after Thanksgiving, and you'll be glad to have gotten your gifting done early. Visit Mixbook.com to sign up today.