Thanksgiving is a time for joy and togetherness. But hosting the Thanksgiving meal may bring just as much stress as happiness. The first step is to take a deep breath — preparing a successful holiday meal is within your reach. 

Keep these tips on how to host Thanksgiving in mind to help the day run smoothly and avoid any Turkey Day fails

  1. Make a List and Check It Twice

    Staying organized is half the Thanksgiving battle. Make a list of all the food you’re making, print out recipes to avoid searching for URLs and switching back and forth between browser tabs on the big day, and make a shopping list. Beat the holiday crowd by getting your shopping done as early as possible, and start prep ahead of time on any components or recipes you can. Helpful Thanksgiving hosting ideas to help you stay organized include toasting breadcrumbs, making dessert or preparing a casserole in advance. The night before, put out your ingredients, serving dishes, pans and everything else you need to get cooking.

  2. Get Ahead of the Game

    Get any non-food tasks out of the way before you dive into cooking. Clean the house, gather all the dishes and linens and set the table ahead of time. This is also a great time to enlist help from friends who don’t cook. Ask one of your guests to come over early in the week to help you clean. Task a friend with making a playlist, buying drinks and ice, or setting the table. 

  3. Stick With What You Know

    Trying new recipes can be risky and adds uncertainty to an already daunting list of kitchen duties. Skip the fancy new turkey technique or finnicky pie dough, and stick with tried and true recipes when you host Thanksgiving. If you don’t have any, ask friends and family for their favorites, or find highly-rated recipes online. Scan the comments to glean helpful tips or adjustments from other home cooks who’ve tried the recipes. 

  4. Don’t Do It All

    The mark of a successful Thanksgiving meal isn’t whether every single item was homemade. If there’s something you don’t like cooking, don’t have a good recipe for or just don’t care much about, outsource it! Buy a pie from your favorite bakery (most require pre-ordering), order sauces or dressings from an upscale grocery store and grab your favorite frozen dinner rolls. 

  5. Simplify Your Menu

    Skip the appetizers. Turkey, potatoes and all the fixings are filling enough. Put out something simple — think nuts or crackers and dip — for your guests to munch on if you must. 

  6. Take Help Where You Can Get It

  7. Finding tasks for guests who want to help can sometimes be more stressful than doing it all yourself. Have a few easy chores ready for eager partygoers to tackle: serving drinks, chopping crudité to set out before the meal, opening wine bottles or stowing away coats and bags. The last thing you want to do is rush around when the turkey’s ready to come out!

Saving for the Holidays?

Being a holiday host means you may incur additional expenses to supply food, drinks and decorations for your guests. Talk to your Farm Bureau agent today to make sure your savings plan is on-track for the holidays.