Hosting Thanksgiving? Here is your Thanksgiving Party Checklist

By rjn November 8, 2019 View all posts (4)

Hosting the Thanksgiving Holiday, Here is what you need to know.

Turkey, football, family and being grateful.  Thanksgiving is a North American holiday were we celebrate the wonderful gifts we have.  If this is your year to host, the Top5 writers are here to help you be prepared with the upcoming holiday.  We will make sure you are fully prepared and have all you need for a perfect day.  A perfect day for your guests will mean a perfect day for you.

One Month Prior:  Send Out Invitations (Formal or Informal)

You should do a bit more than just sending a mass text.   If you are going to make the day special, start off if a formal invite.  As a person who has hosted for years, send a formal invite.  Either do a a formal invitation, which you would send in the mail, or an informal email invite.  I have used both approaches, and use EVITE.COM for both “Premium” and “Free Email” invites.


One Month Prior:  Put Out All Your Thanksgiving Decorations

Put your Halloween decorations away and pull out your Thanksgiving decorations. Get a Thanksgiving wreath on the door and fall decorations.  Fall decorations need to embrace everything you love about autumn, fall leaves, and fall colors, orange, red and brown.

One Month Prior:  Order or Purchase Tables, Chairs, Napkins and Runners

The best thing we ever did was start putting tables together and creating one huge Thanksgiving table.It really brings the family together and is a great experience  for all the invites.  It is loud and social and fun.  It is what family time should be.

Below are some easy table and chair options.  We usually rent as our party got up to 40 plus guests.  But if you have ten – 20 it is more affordable to just buy and store.

LONG FOLDING TABLES

FOLDING CHAIRS

RUNNERS

14 Days Prior:  Ask Guest To Bring a Specific Food Item.

You can not do it all by yourself.  You need to delegate some of the smaller food items.  If you are hosting, you must do the turkey at a minimum, but asking for guests to bring desserts or side dishes is a good idea.  We do not like having people bring appetizers because if they are late, you are without apps. Be specific to what you want each person to bring. If you leave it up to your guest you will end up with all your side dishes being the same.

We also do not ask far away guest to bring anything, if they spend a lot of money on travel to come to your feast. That should be enough.

Below are some affordable Thanksgiving cookbooks that will help you find items to delegate.  But do not experiment too much with new recipes.  Stick with the standard meals.

14 Days Prior: Buy Parts of Your Meal

Locally there will always be those places that make incredible foods.  So save time and energy by utilizing a delivery service to pick up a couple of your favorite dishes.  Use GRUBHUB, DOORDASH or UBER EATS to go get that perfect pumpkin pie, gravy, HONEY BAKED HAM.  Don’t feel guilty, it is your day also.


Few Days Prior: Set the Table. Thanksgiving Day Is About the Cooking.

We have the kids set up the table a couple days before. We try to use all real plates, cups and silverware. By setting up a few day early you also see your holes in decorating and if you are missing anything. Some people like using place cards but we don’t. We have the guest pull their wine glass from the table and add the place card where they want to be. We also intermingle the kids with the adults because kids tables stink.


Few Days Prior:  Write Your Thanksgiving Prayer

As President, on October 3, 1789, George Washington made created the first Thanksgiving Day designated by the national government of the USA:

“Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for all the gifts we have received throughout the year.  It is appropriate to pray before the meal on Thanksgiving.  Take the time and make it personal.  It is important.

Few Days Prior:  Plan Your Signature Cocktail

Of course you need to have beer and wine at your Thanksgiving party. But, it is fun to greet the guests with a specialty or signature fall-flavored cocktail.  one of these delicious, cocktails instead.  There are many fall options, using mixers, such as, cranberry and apple cider.

You can easily find solid drink recipe options online or grab a holiday cocktail book.


One Day Prior:  Set Up Your Stations (Bar, Coffee, Dessert, & Appetizers)

You don’t want to just wing it come Thanksgiving day.  The day prior make set up stations so that you will know where things will be taking place.  Get your bar set up, coolers and ice.  Create a coffee station.  We like to have the coffee station going on all day.  Know where you are going to layout your appetizers.  And know where you are going to put all the desserts and have the area prepared.


Thanksgiving Day:  Fry and Bake a Turkey

 

Having two turkeys makes Thanksgiving really fun and it gets the men involved a bit in the Thanksgiving prep.  At our house we bake one turkey with all the stuffings and the men fry the other turkey outside.  There is always a fun competition between the two cooks which made the better tasting turkey.

Frying a turkey is easy, but make sure you take time to learn the safety tips, especially if you are using a propane flame fryer.

If you are going to buy a fryer, buy an electric fryer.  It is much safer than the flame fryers.


Thanksgiving Day: Dress to Impress and Set the Tone for Turkey Day

It is a party so have fun.  We like to dress up in a fun outfit to set the tone for the day.  Be festive and own the day.  It is never a bad thing to be best dressed.  Best thing is you stand out in all the family photos.  I bought this suit on a site called Shinesty.


Thanksgiving Day: Send Your Guest Home with Leftovers

You will be eating leftovers for days, so why not send your guests home with some food.  It is really easy to set up a take-out station with inexpensive and grab-and-go containers.


Your Thanksgiving Day Schedule

Thanksgiving Day
*6:30 am Stuffing
*7:30 am Turkey in 325 degrees oven
*10 am Skin potatoes and boil in water (put mashed potatoes in crockpot).  Put creamed corn in crockpot.
*11 am Shower
*12 pm Prepare appetizers, signature drink and water in chaffing dishes (sternos).
*1 pm Party starts!  Bake broccoli/cauliflower and sweet potato in small oven.
*1:45 pm Put turkey in fryer.
*2:30 pm Take turkey out of oven (and stuffing) and carve it.  Bake biscuits and asparagus.  Warm up gravy.  Don’t forget to put out jello and cranberries.
*3 pm Pray.  Feast!
Happy Thanksgiving!

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