It’s our tradition to have both sides of the family over on Thanksgiving Day for dinner. Hosting over 30 people for Thanksgiving can be a little crazy and stressful. Considering we have done this for years, I have learned a few lessons along the way. It should be a time of enjoyment not only for the guests, but for you and your family also. After the first year of trying to do everything myself, I knew I had to be more organized if this was going to happen again. Well, we have continued to host Thanksgiving every year! Hopefully these few tips will help you to enjoy hosting Thanksgiving as much as I do.
Ask Others to Bring a Dish
Thanksgiving is a time for sharing, so what better way to do so than to ask others to bring a dish. We always provide the turkey, rolls, and one dessert. We then ask for everyone to bring one side dish or dessert. This will allow plenty of food for everyone and doesn’t make it too chaotic in the kitchen for the host. Most people like to feel like they are helping out and will be very happy in bringing a side dish or dessert. If they aren’t great cooks, they can alway bring a beverage or suggest they pick a side dish from the grocery or a favorite restaurant the night before.
Don’t Stress Over Cleaning
Although we love to have our houses looking perfect for our guests, the reality is that they probably will not even notice. I normally have everyone chip in the the morning of. Kids can make their beds. Henry will swipe the floors, and I will be in the kitchen doing last minute food prep and maybe hiding leftover laundry that didn’t get finished…lol. We always crank up the Christmas music to get everyone in a great mood and make it seem fun.
A deep cleaning is not necessary! I always wait to do my cleaning after, this is when it really will need it. Cleaning before is really just a waste of time that no one will appreciate. Keep in mind that your guest are at your home to be with family and not look at how clean your home is.
Make Things Ahead of Time
Preparing food ahead of time can be a big time saver. I normally will make my dessert on the Wednesday evening before. The turkey will be made early on Thursday morning and will cook all day, which will give the aroma of Thanksgiving in the air. It will only need to be warmed on Thursday. The only thing left to do on Thursday morning is to make the rolls. This gives them plenty of time to rise on Thursday before baking right before meal time.
Set the Table a Few Days Before
Setting the table is the one thing you don’t want to be doing on Thanksgiving Day. Having your table decorations and table set, will allow for more time doing other things. This will be one less thing that is already taken care of and can be taken care of in advance.
Be Prepared for Leftovers
More times than not, Thanksgiving leftovers exist. This means you need to be prepared for having them. Make sure your fridge is cleaned out. This will allow plenty of room to store the food until everyone takes their doggy bag home. Also, make sure and have small disposable containers on hand for guest.
Have a Designated Place for Children to Play and Eat
Having a designated place for children to eat and play is a must if you will be having small children. This will help keep down on extra cleaning afterwards and can also be fun for them. I normally set up a small table with a tablecloth for kids to draw on. This could also serve as a keepsake. Another idea would be to have Thanksgiving puzzles for them to work on while they were waiting on the adults to prepare their plate. We also designate the downstairs den for playing after and before dinner. Henry will make sure all the video game equipment is set up, board games in order, and plenty of things for the children to do in this area.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time and doesn’t have to be stressful just because you are hosting. Learning how to host without going crazy has been a goal of mine for the past few years. Planning has been the ultimate key! Having over 30 people to our home for Thanksgiving is now manageable, fun, and I even look forward to it!