Tips for Hosting Your First Thanksgiving Dinner

Whether you’ve been volunteered by your mother or it’s your turn your circle of friends, this is the first time you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner and the pressure is on. While you may have the desire to make sure everything is perfect just remind yourself it’s okay if it’s not. Thanksgiving is about being together with family and friends and they’ll appreciate all the love and effort you’ve put into making this dinner special. To get you prepared, we’ve outlined a few things to do before turkey day.


Get your guest and grocery list together

Start planning for the dinner weeks in advance by confirming the number of guests that will be attending. Once you know who is coming, ask them if they have an allergy or dietary restrictions that you should be mindful of when cooking. This will lead you to the next step, preparing your shopping list. Be thorough in what you think you’ll need for this day (extra cans of corn, bags of buns, or packets of gravy). The biggest lie we tell ourselves is “I don’t have to write that down, I’ll remember it later.”


Shop little by little

The foods for Thanksgiving dinner can get a little pricey. But since you’ll have your grocery list ready ahead of time, you can start crossing items off your checklist slowly and avoid spending too much at once. Going into the grocery store a few times before the big day will allow you to see what goes on sale (daily/weekly specials) and buy those items then.


Cleaning and decorating your place

The weekend before the holiday give your place a nice deep clean. Stop by the store and pick up a tablecloth, napkins, and centerpiece that aligns with fall colors like orange, brown, gold, or crimson. For this special occasion, perhaps you need to purchase new plates, cups, and silverware. Just remember, presentation is almost as important as the quality of the meal.


And finally – the cooking

You’ll want to get an early start to the long day ahead to leave you plenty of time for tidying up, setting the table, or making a couple of mistakes like accidentally burning a casserole. Plan the day by calculating for redos, calling your mother for cooking tips, and getting yourself ready. The goal should be to have everything, including yourself, ready for presentation just in case someone arrives early. Here are some of the essential dishes and their recipes to help get you started:



Mashed potatoes:

Green bean casserole:  

Pumpkin pie:


Do you have any turkey day tips to share? Let us know about them in the comments!