Hosting Thanksgiving dinner is a huge undertaking that can be challenging even if you have experience, let alone if it’s your first time. Regardless, everything is easier with a well-laid-out plan, so let’s get to it.

This is our guide on how to host Thanksgiving: it accounts for recipes, guests, and all the planning ahead you can do to be more efficient!

Plan everything

Sit down with a notepad or digital document and take some time to write everything down. It’s much easier to account for everything and make plans once you can visualize your work for the upcoming weeks.

Here’s what you should be writing down:

Decide on your recipes. Decide how you’ll bake the turkey, and what will be your side dishes and desserts. Important to account for guests that may have food allergies or unique diets (such as veganism). By the way, there are plenty of Thanksgiving recipes in our blog!

Make a grocery list. With your recipes in hand, you will know exactly which ingredients to buy. You definitely want to get them ahead of time to avoid the holiday rush.

Make a list of guests. You’ll need to invite everyone ahead of time so they can confirm their presence. This is crucial because you need to know how many people to serve and if anyone will be staying for a day or more in your home.

Do you have enough plates? With the list of guests ready, you can take inventory of your plates and silverware to ensure there’s enough for everyone. In the case of an emergency, you can use disposable plastic options, but it’s much better to use the real deal.

Send your invitations

You’ll probably invite folks over the phone or with an email, so get the list you wrote before and start inviting everyone. Be sure to ask them to confirm presence ahead of time if possible so that you can plan properly.

You need to ensure there’s enough space for everyone to enjoy dinner, and even more important if you need to get the guest room ready for one or more family members coming to visit. This involves doing some laundry and cleaning that should be accounted for in your schedule.

Bake and cook ahead

The kitchen can get pretty hectic on Thanksgiving day, with the oven and stove working non-stop. You can alleviate some of that pressure by prepping ahead with side dishes and desserts that can be stored in the fridge the night before.

Pies are a perfect example, but there are plenty of side dishes and desserts to pick from!

Check out our Essential Thanksgiving Recipes Guide!

Order dessert

Another way to save yourself a lot of time is to order dessert instead of making it yourself so that you can focus on the main and side dishes. There are many places that specialize in baking delicious Thanksgiving desserts, making it a guaranteed high-quality addition to your menu.

You can also ask a few of your most trusted guests to bring something, whether it’s dessert or side dishes, is up to you. In this case, it’s important to have a backup plan though, in case they forget or are unable to bring it.

Just be sure to also plan ahead to go pick up your order so that it’s on the table before dinner!

Set the table early

A common way to ensure your table is perfect is to set it all up the day before Thanksgiving (or even earlier if possible). You’ll be able to ensure there are plates for everyone and that the decoration is up to par.

Besides, it’s one less thing to do during Thanksgiving day, allowing you to focus on cooking and receiving guests without having to worry about setting the table.

Prepare the guest bedroom

If you’re having family members stay the night, you’ll need to prepare the guest bedroom. This mostly involves some laundry for clean sheets and pillowcases, as well as some cleaning – especially if the room hasn’t been used in a while.

Because of the time commitment, you can always call a house cleaner to help with this task. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to go for a full house cleaning service, which is another way to save time and energy for you to focus on other pressing tasks. For example, you can go grocery shopping while someone is cleaning the house – time efficiency!

Now you have a good idea of how to prepare to host Thanksgiving. Start by getting free quotes for house cleaners in the area and save yourself the hassle!


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