10 Tips for Hosting a Stress-free & Successful Thanksgiving Dinner

October 5, 2016

Thanksgiving is the first major holiday of the fall season and a sign that cooler weather is on the way. It’s a great holiday for spending time with friends and family, watching football (or hockey, if you prefer), and enjoying delicious fall food such as pumpkin pie, turkey, and stuffing.

Unlike other holidays, Thanksgiving is all about the meal – something that can put a lot of pressure on the host to deliver. We want to impress our guests, have them leaving with full bellies and raving about the meal you spent so much time preparing.

10 Tips for Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner

Whether you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner for the very first time and want to impress your guests, or you’re the go-to host in your family, the following tips will help you ensure this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is a success.

1. Make a list

The first thing you need to do is make a list. Believe us, with so much going on this time of the year, it’s easy to forget things, even if you have a good memory. Take a few minutes to write a list of the guests who are coming for dinner (so you will know how much food you will need), and a list of the food and other groceries you will need to prepare dinner. Making a list will save you from having to run out to the store again.

2. Use a flyer app to save money

Preparing a big meal can get expensive. Rather than reading through all the local flyers in search of deals, consider downloading a flyer app such as Reebee or Flipp. These apps allow you to easily look through flyers, create your shopping list and search for products. It’s a convenient tool that will not only come in handy, but can also save you money.

3. Shop early

As they say, the early bird gets the worm (and beats the crowds). Waiting until the weekend of Thanksgiving will only make your shopping trip more difficult. There will be more people in the stores, you will have to wait longer in lines, and stores could be sold out of popular items this time of year.

4. Don’t turn down help

Preparing a meal of this size is no small endeavor. So, if people offer, don’t turn down the help. Whether it’s offering to help you in the kitchen, set the table, or even bring a dish for dinner, you should welcome the help with open arms.

Consider hiring help. You can find a nanny or babysitter on CanadianNanny.ca to help with the kids or a housekeeper to clean up before and after the festivities on Housekeeper.com

5. Stick with the classics

People don’t want you to reinvent the wheel. They want a turkey dinner with all the fixings. It’s best to stick to the classics – turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, squash, and the other traditional dishes your family loves. Plus, trying out a new recipe during a big occasion could cause you more stress, especially if it doesn’t turn out the way you anticipated.

6. Prep as much as you can in advance

The most stressful part of Thanksgiving dinner is serving it on time. If you said dinner is at 6pm, then you know guests will be ready to eat as soon as the clock strikes 6. They are eagerly waiting in anticipation for one of the best meals they will have all year. To make sure the turkey is carved, the place settings are set, and the side dishes are on the table, it’s imperative that you prep as much as you can in advance. There are lots of things that you can do in advance: prepping vegetables, baking bread and pies, and setting the table. Some people are even starting to cook the turkey the day before so they will have more time and oven space on Thanksgiving Day.

7. Don’t forget about appetizers

Putting out some festive treats for your guests while you work on dinner will help keep them at bay and out of your hair while you are getting dinner ready. It will also reduce the odds of someone asking you the one question you don’t want to hear – Is dinner ready yet?

8. You can buy some parts of the meal

There is no sense in running yourself ragged and having no time to actually enjoy the day. It’s okay to buy a few items. If you know of a great bakery in your area, buy some fresh bread or even a pie or two. For all the hassle you’d have to go through to get the ingredients to bake bread or a pie, it’s definitely worth it to get it from the bakery. Then you know it will taste great!

9. Stock up on the spirits

Having a few bottle of wine chilled, some craft beer for the beer lovers, or even a pitcher of a festive cocktail will keep guest occupied while you are prepping dinner.

10. Relax, have fun and enjoy yourself

Perhaps the best tip for hosting Thanksgiving dinner is to actually be a host. Be sure to make time to mingle with your guests, enjoy time with family and have fun. The dishes can wait until tomorrow, right?

Thanksgiving is all about the food. The above tips will help you get properly prepared and ensure you can put on a memorable Thanksgiving dinner for your guests – you know, like the ones you remember at Grandma’s house when you were a kid.

Happy Thanksgiving from Canadian Nanny to you and yours!

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