Thanksgiving is right around the corner. This means two things: either you’re figuring out what outfit will stretch enough at the family dinner or you’ve started sorting out the game plan for hosting turkey day. If it’s the former, then all you need worry about is the awkward hugs with relatives you haven’t seen in a year. But if you’ve been chosen to host the elaborate meal this year, then you may be close to exploding. Before we let that happen, let’s take a breath!
No matter how big or small, hosting a group of people can be very stressful. But don’t fret — we have five tips that will help you get through talking to in-laws and planning out that kiddie table. We will cover organizing your to-do list, looking out for the surprises that can happen throughout the day and what to do when everything doesn’t pan out according to plan. After seeing the list below, maybe you’ll feel a little more equipped for not only Thanksgiving, but also the events to follow afterward.
5.) Plan Ahead
Before you even think about running to the grocery store to buy the 20-pound bird, you might want to sit down and make a to-do list for the day. You should lay out the tasks that need to get done, what you need to accomplish them and how long it will take to do it. You can divide them all into different lists. “Groceries,” “Cooking Times,” “Other Supplies” and “What Needs to Be Cleaned” are just some examples. You should also note how many people are attending, who has dietary needs and what your budge is. The last thing you need is to break the bank on this one dinner.
And instead of jotting it into your notes app or texting yourself, you might want to go old school and use a planner or even a bulletin board so you can visualize where you progress and also really see how long one job will take.
4.) Expect the Unexpected
No matter how much planning you do, there are still things that you never expect to happen. Maybe your sister brought the boyfriend you thought she broke up with earlier in the week, only to reconcile hours before she was supposed to show up to dinner. Or your friend is back on her gluten-free, plant-based diet that makes just about everything in your menu a big no-no for her plate. Hey, it happens!
The best way to deal with unexpected guests is buy doing away with with the fine china and go with some pretty but disposable plates. It’ll save you from having to do hundreds of dishes, and it will also let you set a new place setting for the surprise attendee.
If there’s someone with dietary restrictions, make sure at least one of your dishes is a completely vegetarian or even vegan dish. You don’t want the herbivores to go hungry.
3.) Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
This one is a continuation of the previous tip. Aside from prepping for the unexpected, you should also be OK with letting things go. Sometimes things are just out of our hands, like the moment that older relative makes an inappropriate joke. Just let that awkward silence ride itself out, then announce that it’s time for dessert, or maybe it could be time for a quick game of Cards Against Humanity.
You can also just continue the conversation you’re already having with that cousin you haven’t seen in a while as someone’s baby is turning beet red and wailing to their hearts content. Besides, there are other family members there to handle that anyway.
2.) Never Turn Down Help
Although you may have been nominated to take on this mighty task, you don’t have to do it all by yourself. There is absolutely nothing wrong with getting help. When you have a team to pitch in, it’s not only going to make everything on your to-do list seem much easier, but it could also be a lot of fun. Maybe you can get a group together to go grocery shopping with you, and then one night can be just for prepping all the fruits and vegetables for the dishes that need to be made.
On the day of, perhaps a few guests who live close by can come a little earlier to help with setting the table, putting out the booze or plating up the dishes in some warm colored platters.
1.) Wine. Lots and Lots of Wine
And finally, you can bring out the booze. Whether it’s planning the week or two before Thanksgiving or during the meal itself, you can have a huge glass of red wine, like this one that can hold a whole bottle. Or, if you’re running around the house and need to make sure nothing spills, maybe this cup will be better.
Whatever the vessel, drink that wine. You deserve it!
Got more tips on how to survive hosting Thanksgiving? We’d love to hear in the comments below!