Holiday Hosting Tips


If the chilling weather, and endless houses decked in holiday lights haven’t assured you that it’s the end of November, then that the fact that Thanksgiving is just a week away, sure will. The holidays can become quite daunting and frustrating for most. Instead of it being a time to celebrate with loved ones over good food, and be thankful for all the things in you life over the past year, it’s often a time of year when you feel the most stressed.

Although, I haven’t hosted a Thanksgiving or holiday on my own, I have done it alongside my parents. I’ve picked up a few things over the years entertaining for the holidays, and put tougher a list of tips on how you can have a stress-free holiday season! Don’t worry about your silverware not being the brightest or issues that pop up during family conversations, this is your year to relax and enjoy holiday entertaining. {image via}

The holiday officially kicks off with Thanksgiving, so here’s how to handle it like a pro!

1. Set Expectations and Make Your Guests Feel Welcome

  • Finalize your guest list two weeks before – although Thanksgiving isn’t a formal affair for most, knowing the final guest count will make it easier to plan your dishes and shop for ingredients beforehand, rather than the day before. This gives you ample time to search through your house for chairs, silverware, and other supplies you may need too.
  • Give your guests a clear idea of timing for the day – what time to arrive, when food will be served, and times for any events you may have plan.
  • Inform guests about specific details – can they bring a guest, are pets allowed, and will they be able to watch certain television programs, like Football.
  • ASK FOR HELP – too many times we think we can handle it on our own, but let’s face it, between cleaning, setting the table and decor, and cooking the perfect menu, we just can’t do it all. Some of your guests are eager to help, whether it’s by bringing an appetizer or dessert, or having a close friend come early to help set the table. Don’t forget the kids either!

2. Organize Your Pantry

  • Go through your pantry – refresh spices and herbs you know you’ll be using. Getting a fresh stock of ingredients will make a whole of a difference when prepping for your holiday meal.
  • Transfer dry ingredients from their packaging – not only will airtight containers keep your ingredients fresher longer through the holiday season, but it will make baking and cooking several dishes at once easier. If you really want to make holiday meal even more effortless, label all your ingredients.

3. Invest in Proper Tools

  • Choose a heavy, high sided roasting pan large enough to hold the turkey and not larger –  don’t forger to have hand scissors, kitchen twine, trussing needles, baster, instant read thermometer, basting brush, fat separator, cheese cloth, and a roasting rack on hand too.
  • I highly suggest investing in good large baking dishes, roasting pans, and large pots, especially if you entertain a lot during the holidays. There are endless resources to stock your kitchen with the proper tools, like Williams Sonoma, Sur la Table, Macys, Target, Bed Bath and Beyond and much more.

4. Finalize Your Menu 

  • Order your Turkey – fresh or frozen, make sure to place your order two weeks before.
  • Gather recipes – whether it be traditional or new recipes, create a shopping list of the ingredients you will need. Don’t forget dietary restrictions and dishes guests may be bringing. Once your done with your recipes, place them in a binder or laminate them, so that you can remember what you’ve made in the past.
  • Prep your sides – two days before, make simple side dishes, like cranberry sauce, soups, and dips. This will save you crucial time on the big day.

5. Create Simple and Effortless Decor 

  • Gather your supplies – linens, silverware, plates, and any other entertaining supplies you will need. Seeing what you already have, is a great inspiration for the final look of your holiday.
  • Food is the main focus for Thanksgiving – instead of a large centerpiece in the middle of your table, create small floral arrangements that guests can take home. Get festive by adding seasonal fruits and vegetables with bunches of fresh herbs. Simple branches, leaves and elements from your yard are perfect!
  • Light votives – candle lighting adds a cozy ambience, but make sure candles are dispersed throughout, not on the main dining table, and unscented. Remember the best part is walking into a delicious smelling home.
  • For those you opt for a buffet style holiday – place dishes on different levels by inverting bowls covered in pretty fabric and multipurpose cake stands, it adds for an interesting presentation. Label all your dishes too, include certain   ingredients, like nuts or seafood.

6. The Day Before 

  • Take care of last-minute preparations – buy perishable vegetables and salad greens. Finish fruit and nut pies, and leave them at room temperature not the fridge, no one likes soggy pie.
  • Set the table – it’s a simple task that can be done the day before instead of rushing to do it as guests are arriving.
  • Take a step back and breathe – all your preparations have paid off, don’t worry. Create a schedule, whether it be mentally or a written timeline, so that you are prepared and know what needs to be done in what order. Guests don’t want to see you stressed out, while waiting to be fed. Plus, you deserve a glass of wine for all your hard work!

These are just a few suggestions but Pinterest is loaded with plenty more, and Whole Foods has this cheat sheet with endless tips on roasting the perfect Thanksgiving, as well as the guru herself Martha Stewart. Each family or group of friends have their own traditions and norms for their holiday, so remember to make Thanksgiving special and this season unique to you. 

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