Feast without the Fuss: 8 Tips for a Stress-free Thanksgiving
Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving, it's a time to express gratitude, savor delicious flavors, and share precious moments with loved ones. For many, the thought of hosting a Thanksgiving feast can be both exhilarating and, let's face it, a tad bit stressful.
These tips are here to guide you through the art of hosting a memorable celebration that strikes the perfect balance between warmth, deliciousness, and stress-free enjoyment. From planning a mouthwatering menu to creating a welcoming atmosphere, our tips are designed to help you host the ultimate Thanksgiving celebration.
Make a guest list.
The guest list not only includes the names of your guests, but get a head count of partners and children who will be attending the festivities. This will help you to plan your menu and make sure there will be enough food and place settings for everyone. This is also a good time to find out any dietary restrictions. While planning my Friendsgiving, one of my friends informed me she was dairy-free. This helps me to plan to offer plenty of options for that person to enjoy.
Plan your dishes and get your guests involved
What are you planning on making? Determine which dishes you are going to make now and plan to eliminate a few. We always seem to make way more dishes than needed. Keep it simple! When talking to guests, ask what they would like to bring. Most guests want to contribute something to the celebration, and it will help you to determine what parts of the meal are missing. Looking for some new recipes to try? My favorite go-to recipes come from Half Baked Harvest and Cravings by Chrissy Teigen.
PRO TIP: Whoever suggests it, makes it.
What this means is that if someone mentions a dish they would like to have at the Thanksgiving meal, then they are in charge of it! I’ve seen many hosts who make dishes they might not even like, just because someone requests it. You want it, you make it! I’ll even send you a recipe for it :)
Purge and make a grocery list
Take 30 minutes this week to clean out your pantry and fridge. Check expiration dates on any items in your pantry and refrigerator and throw away any expired items. This is also the time to clean out those plastic containers! Toss any items that don’t have a matching lid and bottom. Use what’s left to send home leftovers with your guests and purchase yourself a fresh new set. Using your recipes, make a grocery list of non-perishable items you will need, and buy them this week. This can include any wine or alcohol you will need for your celebration.
Create a “fire plan” for the big day.
Make a schedule using the cooking temperatures and times for each dish. Work backwards from the time you want the meal to be served.
Use/Borrow slow cookers and instant pots
Don’t have a lot of oven space? Consider making a dish or two in your slow cooker or instant pot. Don’t have one? Borrow one from a guest!
If you can make your entire dish a day or two before the big day, go for it! Items such as desserts and casseroles can usually be made a day or two before. Consider what dishes can be made early and get it done! If your dish won’t taste good unless it’s freshly made, prep all of your veggies by chopping everything and putting them in marked containers in the fridge.
Decorate the day before
Set the table and decorate for your Thanksgiving feast a day or two before. Have kids? Get them involved in the decorating process!
Enjoy this time with family and friends
The holidays are such a special time, and we can get wrapped up in trying to make everything perfect. Please remember to relax, spend time with your family and friends, and have a glass of wine because you deserve it!