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Hosting Thanksgiving at Your Home: 7 Tips to Make It Look Effortless


Eating holiday meals is something I look forward to with each passing season and Thanksgiving is like to Super Bowl of food celebrations! If you're like me, I so enjoy the planning of having people over, sharing good times, and creating lasting memories with the treasured people in my life. I want the meal to be amazing, for the kiddos to be entertained, to have all my cooking and baking done, and great music to set the tone so I get to enjoy the gathering too. I have come up with seven simple tips to help you get organized for a stress free TURKEY DAY and make it look effortless. Let's get started!


I am an Amazon Affiliate and this post may contain product links, that provide a small commission to me, if you purchase at no cost to you.


I've linked the items in green and personally implemented them in my home, all items that will help make your prep for the holiday much easier.


1. Make a Pre-Plan:

  • Write out a guest list and decide how many people you will be providing for. This is also good opportunity to decide where you and your guests dine.

  • Start planning the menu, look up recipes on Pinterest, make a shopping list.

  • Think about the things your guests may need outside of food. Are you having overnight guests? Are the rooms stocked with hand soap, towels, tissue, etc.

  • New to roasting turkey? Take sometime to familiarize yourself with turkey techniques like: defrosting time, how long to roast it, brine or no brine, and how big it needs to be to feed everyone.

Turkey Day Tip: If you're having a smaller gathering, you may consider turkey tenderloins or bone in whole turkey breast vs a whole, large bird.


2. Make what you can ahead of time:

  • Starting early will make you much more at ease on the big day! Think about items that can be made days in advance, like pies. These are pretty pie dishes and come in lots of colors.

  • Toasting bread cubes or baking cornbread for stuffing recipes will save you time and oven space on Thanksgiving. You can store these items in the freezer if you do this well in advance. Bread freezes nicely.

  • Wash and chop your produce for your menu and have them ready when you assemble your recipes.

3. Presenting the Star of the Show: The Turkey

  • Go though your pre-plan to decided the date to begin defrosting. We want to ensure he has had time to get ready for his debut.

  • If your brining, make sure you have a vessel that will accommodate the size of your bird , PLUS the bring liquid during the process. Coolers, like this, are a great option because you can keep your turkey at a food safe temperature, cool without taking up valuable fridge space.

  • Decide on cooking method and time out number of hours until meal time to ensure it's perfectly done in time. Here's a few helpful tools: this and this

Turkey Day Tip: Prep your turkey the morning of Thanksgiving, even if you aren't baking it right away. That way it will be waiting when you're ready.


4. Organize cooking supplies and serving pieces:

  • It's important to refer to your menu pre-plan on this one. The last thing we want is to be washing dishes, that we need for the next thing we're going to prepare, on the day of Thanksgiving. Pre-plan how you'll prepare your menu items and in what order.

  • Are you planning to serve buffet style or family style? Take a look at your serving pieces to make sure you have room for everything and that the furniture is protected for placing oven warmed serving dishes upon.

  • Will your guest dine on fancy dishes or is this a casual Thanksgiving event? Either way, you can set the table well in advance to save time on the day of the big meal.

Turkey Day Tip: Will you have a beverage station? I've been to gatherings where the host had cold drinks and wine as you enter the space for quick self service. Here's a few ideas:


5. Clean and tidy your space:

  • You will need to check your refrigerated space options for prepped items and leftovers. Make sure you've planned refrigerator and freezer real estate carefully so that everyone has a spot.

  • This is a great time to check in with your dining spaces. At my house, we seldom use our formal dining room except for family gatherings. If this is you too, give everything a good wipe down for dust, replace burnt out bulbs in the fixtures, and make sure you have plenty of seating options.

6. Set the Mood:

  • The sights, sounds, and smells of Thanksgiving are just as important as the taste meal. Think about deliciously scented fall candles to set the autumn tone when your guests arrive. Another option, if you don't want a live flame, is a diffuser. There are reed and atomizer varieties that create that cozy fall feeling, like these.

  • Putting together a playlist is something you can do ahead of time too. Any music that sets the tone you're hoping for will work. If you have a musical family member, you could delegate this chore too. In the past, I've used collections of classic country, or soft instrumentals, Christmas classics, lively jazz. It really depends on the tone you want.

  • Light the fireplace if it's chilly where you are. A crackling fire can lend so much to a space that you are hoping to create a cozy atmosphere. If you have a wood burning fireplace, plan to have seasoned firewood available.

Turkey Day Tip: If you have kiddos, don't forget to prepare a busy station for them. They could have their own space, indoors or out, with music, games, craft projects, and activities. One year, I had the kids help with pre planning with table decor and they made placemats for each guest. They were so proud!


7. Let People HELP!

  • Everyone who asks to bring something, clearly wants to help. Take them up on it. You will not be sorry.

  • Use this opportunity to let a friend or family member shine. Say Aunt Bea makes a dessert your family loves. Ask her to bring it. Or maybe your best friend knows a lot about wine pairing, have them choose the wine list. You see where I'm going?

  • Maybe you have new neighbor that's alone for the holiday, and you've invited them to join, but they don't cook, they could pick up extra ice. Everyone can contribute and it will save you from having to do it all.

Hosting Thanksgiving should be enjoyable, fun filled, and memorable. I'm confident that if you start now and follow the tips, you have a stress free turkey day. Here's to a wonderful Thanksgiving for you and your family. You've got this!


Warmest Regards,

Kiley Hope


REALTOR, Residential Specialist at Funari Realty

Braselton, GA






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