How Do I Host Thanksgiving? - The Life You Love

How Do I Host Thanksgiving?

Instead of coming up with a creative title, I figured I could just use my frantic Google searches.  This year, Paul and I are hosting Thanksgiving.  This is our first time hosting a holiday EVER.  I've always pictured myself as the kind of person who would have an impeccably decorated house and gatherings for every holiday on the calendar.  Then I remembered that I'm lazy and introverted AF.

Yet I still volunteered to host Thanksgiving and I'm actually freaking stoked (and terrified)!  I thought I would give you some of the best (and worst) advice that I could.

Don't wait until the last minute.  Or do.
That's what I did.  I wandered through TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods for hours to try to find just a few basic Thanksgiving items.  Decorations, serving trays, disposable dinnerware, that sort of stuff.  Of course, there was only a few Thanksgiving and fall items available because I went shopping two weeks before Thanksgiving.  The good news is that the very few items that were available were on clearance.  The bad news is that I gave up and decided to just decorate for Christmas.

Make a menu. And a cooking timeline.
If you think that you just have to throw a turkey in the oven and open up a can of green beans, you're wrong.  I was wrong.  I didn't realize that every recipe had so many ingredients, especially the ones that were completely homemade.  Nor did I realize that not every recipe goes in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.  That's the importance of that cooking timeline.  You need to know when you need to put each dish in and how long it will take to cook.  And if you want to look like you have your shit together, make a printed menu for each place at the table.

Be realistic and true to yourself.
If you don't make pies, don't volunteer to make a fucking pie.  And if you do, but you hate cooking from scratch, just do what you can.  For some reason, we always feel like we need to put on a certain air when we host people.  As if they don't know that we survive solely off of pizza delivery and frozen Trader Joe's entrees.

Figure out who is coming and what they're bringing.
This seems obvious, but I totally forgot to ask if people were bringing anything.  Mostly because I just got wrapped up in my own panic.  But knowing who is coming can be pretty important in planning your menu.  You'll know if you need to cook more or less food and if you need to be aware of any dietary restrictions.  Plus, then you know how much wine you need to buy. 🍷

Plan your outfit.
I know it sounds pretty unimportant in comparison to everything else, but you don't need to worry about anything else.  Just get this shit out of the way so you have it all under control.  I don't care if you decide that you just want to wear leggings and a t-shirt.  At least you know and you don't have to keep thinking about it.

Don't worry about the small, extra details.
I know I just said that you can print menus for each place at the table, but that's not something you HAVE to do or something you even need to worry about.  As long as you have the food and your house is clean, no one is going to care if all of your silverware matches or if you remembered to put out the holiday salt and pepper shakers.  I promise.

There ya have it.  Some of my best advice for hosting Thanksgiving.  Clearly, it's just the beginning.  I'll be sure to add to it as I get some experience under my belt.  Oh, and in case you're curious, here's what's on the menu for my first ever Thanksgiving: turkey breast, macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, dinner rolls, and mini pecan pies.  Paul's parents will be bringing lamb and lasagna and his brother and sister-in-law are bringing stuffing and desserts!  In case you were wondering, I'm most excited about the macaroni and cheese.

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