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How to Make Your Thanksgiving Meal a Success

How to Make Your Thanksgiving Meal a Success

thanksgiving meal

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. While the memories of family gathering together and giving thanks are great, hosting and cooking this feast can cause some anxiety and stress. But, we’ve got you covered. Here are 13 tips to make your Thanksgiving meal a success and one you’ll enjoy!

1. Never Turn Down Help

We know. This is easier said than done, but trust us when we say there’s a beauty in cooking with your family and friends. Or, better yet, turn your Thanksgiving meal into a potluck where people sign up to bring certain dishes. This will leave you to only worry about the turkey and maybe a few other sides.

2. Prep Ahead

Part of the stress of making Thanksgiving dinner is making every dish at the same time. Avoid that this year by looking for dishes that can be made ahead and just need to be warmed up the day of. Even if you can’t make the whole dish ahead, look to see if you can at least part of the recipe, like toasting nuts or peeling off pieces beforehand.

3. Don’t Make New Recipes

Don’t let Thanksgiving dinner be the time to try that recipe you’ve never made before. It can already be stressful making dishes you already know how to make, so don’t add to the anxiety by trying out that recipe you’ve never made before. You’ll enjoy the day so much more.

4. Work ahead on the non-food prep.

The week leading up to Thanksgiving, start finding all the serving dishes that are probably stored away and wash all the extra silverware and dishes. Use this time to also make sure you have all the napkins, plates and utensils you need and to iron your tablecloth.

5. Set the table the night before

Go ahead and decorate your table and set it the day before so it’s one less thing on your list on Thanksgiving. Place all your serving vessels and utensils on the table as well so you’re not having to figure that out in front of guests.

6. Ask everyone about food allergies, sensitivities and restrictions

The last thing you want on a holiday is for one of your guests to get sick or to avoid parts of the meal because of dietary restrictions. So check with your guests if they have any restrictions so everyone can enjoy the meal.  Also, if kids are attending, double-check with their parents to see what kinds of food they’re avoiding that week so there will be some kid-friendly options as well.

7. Have your drinks ready to go

Wine should be chilling in the fridge & a pitcher of sangria should be ready to be poured. If everyone has drinks in their hand soon after they arrive, they won’t mind if dinner is running late.

8. Don’t worry about appetizers

Your guests will be eating plenty at the actual meal so don’t make a fuss about appetizers. Either ask someone to bring one or have out some nice crackers and dip.

9. When in doubt, or stress, just buy parts of the meal

Hate baking? Buy a pie. Always burning the gravy? Buy some from a specialty grocery. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with buying parts of the meal from the store, especially if it makes for a more relaxing meal. Plus, if you go ahead and put it in a serving dish before guests arrive, no one will know it’s not homemade.

10. Keep the kids occupied

We all know that kids can have a hard time waiting for something, especially food, so it’s best to have some kid-friendly activities to keep them occupied until dinner is ready. Have an area ready with arts and crafts, games, toys or a movie.

11. Make a timeline for everything that needs to be done

Count back from the time dinner will be served and schedule your prep time and oven time. Then set alarms and reminders on your phone for when everything needs to be done.

12. Give away leftovers

Tell your guests to bring some plastic containers, or, better yet, buy some disposable containers to fill up with leftovers and give to guests after the meal. Otherwise, make room in your fridge and be ready to eat that delicious Thanksgiving meal for several days.

13. Relax and enjoy!

Thanksgiving is the season to give thanks and be with family and friends. Enjoy the graciousness of the holiday so you can look back at the day with fondness.