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Thanksgiving Hosting Tips

Posted on Tuesday, November 14, 2023
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by AMAC, D.J. Wilson
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Turkey on a table set for Thanksgiving

Hosting the Thanksgiving holiday this year? Enjoy these 10 Thanksgiving hosting tips to make your day a breeze!

  1. Prepare your holiday menu in advance. Buy what you can ahead of time. Keep the meal simple and prepare foods that you can in advance to avoid feeling pressured or overwhelmed come Thanksgiving Day. For example, some vegetables may be prepped one day ahead and refrigerated.
  2. Kindly ask guests to bring a side dish or dessert contribution. Not only does this enable you to focus on the turkey and fixings, but it guarantees that you will not run short on food. Do give your guests plenty of advance notice when making this special request.
  3. Graciously accept help with food preparation, serving, and/or cleaning up. Remember that many hands make light work. Having help allows hosts more time to relax with guests. Always be thankful, appreciative, and non-critical of help received.
  4. A great host creates an inviting ambiance. This is done through attention to detail; offering a clean home where guests can unwind and interact with one another. Some candles, soft lighting, ambient music, and lovely décor add to the charm.
  5. Welcome guests warmly at the door. There is nothing better than being cheerfully greeted by your host. Offer to take guests coats, introduce them to people close by, and offer them a beverage to make them feel at home. Should you be required in the kitchen, do politely excuse yourself once guests are comfortable.
  6. Offer fall-themed beverages such as pumpkin martinis or hot apple cider. Should you be preoccupied with other things, set up self-serve beverage stations so that guests can help themselves to something to drink at their leisure. Always have plenty of water and non-alcoholic beverages to choose from.
  7. Don’t wait too long to serve food. People don’t like to feel uncomfortably hungry, so be sure to put out some appetizers such as cheese and crackers or a vegetable tray pre-meal. Having snacks to nosh on is extremely important when serving alcoholic beverages. Per ETIMES, food in the stomach helps to dilute and slow down absorption of alcohol. So, it’s best to not drink alcoholic beverages on an empty tummy.
  8. Whenever possible, try to accommodate guests’ special dietary needs. For example, consider offering vegan friendly soups and salads for non-meat eaters or lactose free options for those with dairy issues. Never specifically address a person’s dietary choices or requirements in front of other guests. Rather, make a general announcement like, “For those of you who do not eat gluten, this pasta is gluten free.”
  9. Keep things simple. Rather than having a sit-down meal for a crowd, consider setting up a buffet and allowing guests to eat what they wish and mingle. Also use shortcuts, such as having guests use sturdy disposable paper plates rather than delicate china that requires handwashing. This can cut down on cleanup time. Note that some paper plates, cups, and utensils are compostable after use which is better for the environment. However, to do so they may not contain poly coatings or special chemicals or food residue. To learn more about recycling paper plates, click here.
  10. Note that there are polite ways to persuade party guests to leave when it’s time for the hosts to go to bed. One might say, “Now that our evening is winding down, would anyone like to take some food home with them?” Or politely ask guests how they are getting home and help to coordinate rides if needed. And, as always, thank guests for sharing their time together with you.

Spread the kindness:

Being a great Thanksgiving host involves advanced planning and organization. It also requires attention to detail, accepting help, utilizing shortcuts, and expressing kindness toward others. Note that acting as a fabulous Thanksgiving host is extremely doable by incorporating our 10 tips as listed above. The main takeaway is to make others feel at home and be gracious, thankful, and kind to those around you. Be sure to open your heart and home to someone who may be alone for the holiday. Or share a meal with a neighbor who is unable to get out due to health or other limitations. Also consider contacting a local church or volunteer group to offer to contribute a holiday meal or donate leftovers.

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