6 Tips for Hosting a Mostly Perfect Thanksgiving

Fall has finally shown up. Weekends are filled with playing outside, enjoying the cool air, watching football, and of course, the holidays are just around the corner. Halloween was up first and did not disappoint. After all, it is such an easy and fun holiday and a perfect transition into the craziness that can be Thanksgiving and Christmas. All you have to do is grab some costumes, carve a few pumpkins, buy candy to hand out, and you’re all set. Thanksgiving, on the other hand, can be a little more tricky though… 

Thanksgiving comes with such high expectations, especially for the hostess. It’s all about the food, and taking on the preparation of such a large and important meal is a lot of pressure. If you’ve found yourself in the position of hosting Thanksgiving this year, you’re in luck because we’ve got some great tips and tricks that should help you host Thanksgiving like a pro. 

6 Tips for Hosting a Mostly Perfect Thanksgiving | Houston Moms Blog

1} Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

If your family and friends are coming to your house to eat, drink, and be merry, they can also show up a little early to lend a hand and maybe even bring a side dish or dessert along with them. Don’t be a afraid to make the “rules” and delegate as necessary. 

2} Plan ahead.

Grocery stores are out of control the week of Thanksgiving. Try shopping the week before for any dry or canned ingredients that won’t spoil before the big day. {You will also probably save some money by doing this because prices will definitely go up during Thanksgiving week!} If you’re going to go with a frozen turkey, you can buy it early as well.  But if you do, this is so important and often a rookie mistake… FROZEN TURKEYS TAKE 3-4 DAYS TO THAW. Be sure to move it from the freezer to the fridge on Sunday night or Monday morning to ensure it will be thawed in time for the big day. When you do your big shopping trip, be sure to make a super detailed list, check it and double check it because no one wants to run to the store on Thanksgiving and miss hanging out with everyone or part of the big game. If you’re shopping and think you have something at home but you’re not sure, buy it anyway. Just keep your receipt, as you can always return unopened items during your next shopping trip. {And if your family is anything like mine, be sure there’s plenty of beer and wine on the list … it helps with the cooking or something, right?}

3} Prep ahead of time too.

Prep any and everything you can ahead of time. If it’s a casserole that just needs to go in the oven, make it the night before and keep it in the fridge. You’ll be so glad that you only have to focus on the turkey and other items that need to be made the day of instead of fretting over the super easy cornbread casserole that can be prepped ahead of time. This goes for chopping vegetables, making pies, and just about anything you can think of that can be done in advance. It will make your day so much more enjoyable, and you might actually get to sit down and have a glass of wine or play a game of hide and seek with the kids instead of spending all of your time in the kitchen.  

4} Stick to what you know.

In my opinion, Thanksgiving isn’t the best time to experiment with new and challenging recipes. If I want to try something new, I typically limit it to one or two things, maybe a side dish and a dessert. Because newsflash… If you weren’t Martha Stewart before you decided to host Thanksgiving, you probably won’t morph into Martha Stewart on the day of either. Keep it simple, traditional, and low stress. Most people look forward to Thanksgiving classics each year, so if you try a whole new menu, not only will you be overwhelmed … but your guests might be disappointed that you went with a spaghetti squash casserole instead of the family favorite, green bean casserole.

5} Know your strengths and accept your weaknesses.

If you’re really good at whipping up those delicious and buttery mashed potatoes, own it. If you’re not so great at making pies, accept it. Order them from a local grocery store or bakery, or better yet – delegate to a friend or family member. My mom makes the best pies, so every time she’s in town for Thanksgiving, she’s always in charge of the pies. If making a turkey really intimidates you or you’ve never made one and you’re not exactly the domestic type, order one! There are so many options in and around Houston for all the Thanksgiving staples, so don’t stress out over something that isn’t your strength. Let it go and pick it up from any of the places mentioned in the post we linked above. 

6} Have fun and enjoy the day.

Embrace the craziness and laugh off any hiccups you might encounter along the way. Lower your expectations because something will go wrong, it always does. I’ve been hosting Thanksgiving for ten years, and I helped my mom host for ten to fifteen years before that. Something always gets burned, dishes get broken, and even with the most detailed list, something is ALWAYS forgotten. It’s okay, no one cares. What’s most important is that the family comes together and makes memories that will last a lifetime. Oh, and add a silly board game to your shopping list, something like the new Speak Out game or the Pie in the Face game. That way if [email protected]*$ hits the fan, you can order pizza and break out one of these silly games to help laugh it off. 

So there you have it, some simple tips for hosting a *mostly perfect* Thanksgiving. Did we miss anything? Give us your best advice for a first time hostess in the comments below!

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Mandy is a former Army brat born and raised in the great state of Texas. She has an undergraduate degree in Business Management and a Master’s degree in Business Finance from Texas Tech University; she currently works as a Tax Accountant in Downtown Houston. In 2005 Mandy met her husband Travis while visiting her parents in Virginia. He took her breath away and followed her back to Texas as quickly as he could. Travis and Mandy shared seven adventurous years of married life before bringing their daughters into the world, Amelia {July 2013} and Evelyn {Sept 2015}. Mandy loves Jesus, country music, Instagram, the sunshine and all things water -- the beach is her happy place. She writes about her experiences as a working wife and mother at Letters to Amelia. Follow along in Mandy's daily life on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.


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