Thanksgiving is a day marked by gathering with people you love, celebrating gratitude, and enjoying amazing food! If you have the honor of hosting the Thanksgiving meal this year, don’t stress. Follow these tips to host an amazing Thanksgiving gathering and leave your guests with memories that will last a lifetime.
1. Make your guest list.
Thanksgiving plans are sometimes made a year in advance, so make sure you let your friends and family know that you’re hosting dinner early enough for them to plan to be there. Ask for RSVPs at least a couple weeks before the big day to ensure your house is prepared and you have plenty of food.
2. Prepare the house.
Take time each week leading up to Thanksgiving to deep clean the spaces your guests will use, like the guest room, bathroom, kitchen, mud room, dining room, and living room. If guests are staying overnight, make sure your guest rooms and bathrooms are well-stocked with towels, toiletries, linens, and pillows. Set aside an area for guests to leave their coats and bags as they come in to avoid clutter in the main areas. Once you have RSVPs, make sure you have plenty of seating, plates, glassware, and utensils for the meal.
3. Set the menu.
Ask your guests what they are planning to bring, then make a list of everything else you will need to provide. You can also set the menu yourself and ask your guests to bring specific dishes or nothing at all. A plan ensures everything is covered and you don’t end up with 5 pumpkin pies and no turkey!
4. Go shopping.
When you have your menu set, make a detailed list of all the ingredients you need to have or buy. To avoid crazy lines at the store, shop for nonperishable items early, then store them together until you’re ready to use them. Buy the turkey or ham as soon as you find one big enough for your guest list and freeze it, then save the fresh produce for a day or two before. Shopping early in the morning or later in the evening may also help you avoid larger crowds. If you’re short on time, you can use a grocery delivery service like Amazon Prime for Whole Foods, Instacart, or Kroger ClickList to have your produce delivered the day before.
A week before, sit down and make a plan for how you’re going to prepare your meals to avoid having your guests arrive while you are still cooking or waking up at 5 am to do everything in one day. Plan time to thaw the turkey/ham so it can go in the oven first thing Thanksgiving morning. Many desserts can be made, and casseroles can be assembled, the day before. You can also chop vegetables and organize ingredients for recipes the day or two before. Plan to decorate and clean the house at least a few days before, so all you need to clean on Thanksgiving day is the kitchen and the dishes you used to cook. Give yourself time to run the dishwasher and empty it before your guests arrive so clean up will be a breeze after the meal!
6. Set the atmosphere.
Choose warm, fall-inspired decor, like pumpkins, gourds, thick blankets, copper accents, pine, and signs that encourage gratitude. When your home is full of people, spaces can easily begin to feel cluttered and stressful, so keep the decor simple and keep common spaces clear to accommodate more bodies. Choose a centerpiece for your tables and create unique placemats for each guest. You can write personalized “thank you” notes with encouragement and scripture for a personal touch. Before the guests arrive, diffuse essential oils to fill your home with scents of fall. Try one of the blends below.
+ 3 drops Orange EO
+ 1 drop Ginger EO
+ 1 drop Clove EO
+ 1 drop Frankincense EO
+ 3 drops Balsam Fir EO
+ 2 drops Cinnamon EO
+ 3 drops Citrus Fresh EO
+ 5 drops Cinnamon EO
+ 1 drop Clove EO
+ 1 drop Nutmeg EO
7. Prepare activities for the day.
Entertain your guests from start to finish by welcoming them with an essential oils station, where they can breathe in or apply an essential oil blend they need that day, apply lotion for their dry hands, or take a shot of NingXia Red for an energy boost after a long drive. Include this Thanksgiving Table Talks download to encourage meaningful conversation before and during the meal, then have games and activities planned for after the meal. If your friends and family like to watch football, set aside one room with a TV to show the game. For those who aren’t football fans, have a few board games ready to turn your Thanksgiving table into a gaming table. If kids are attending, have a room for them to play kid-friendly games or watch a Christmas movie. If you want to include friendly competition with your guests, you can also have games set up outside, like flag football, volleyball, spike ball, potato sack races, corn hole, bocce ball, horseshoes, and giant jenga. If your guests are staying a while, set aside time in the evening to talk about the upcoming advent season to remind yourselves of the true joy of Christmas.
What are some of your favorite ways to prepare for the holidays? Share with us on Instagram.