How to Host Thanksgiving Dinner for the First Time
Are you hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year? Well, you’re about to find out what was stressing Grandma out so much all these years…especially the craziness of cooking, and trying to organize who brings what!
So we’d like to give you these helpful tips ahead of time. You can be thankful you’re not rushing around at the last minute!
1. Set Expectations
Everyone has slightly different standards when they’re hosting Thanksgiving.
There’s always that one aunt who thinks she needs extravagant homemade centerpieces with candles and ribbons galore. Other people won’t think so much about table settings, tablecloths and placemats.
Either way is fine, but just know ahead of time what you want the tableware to look like, and if you’re going to need to borrow utensils and more from a relative. The first part of setting expectations is “table setting” expectations!
2. Know How Many People Are Coming
Obviously, in order to know how many groceries you buy, the volume of beverages, the dining table situation, the amount of time cooking will take…you need to know exactly how many people are coming. I mean, you’re probably going to be making (or requesting someone else to make) turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, yams…oh, maybe some type of casserole… don’t forget the cornbread for biscuits, and the pumpkin pie!
But how much you’ll be making all depends on the guest list.
So the most important part of hosting Thanksgiving is making sure everyone RSVPs, and that they know when they should plan on arriving.
Also, make sure the expectations are clear on whether or not people can stay the night at your house, because they’ve had too much…turkey. (Yeah, let’s go with that!)
Last but not least, make sure to follow up with guests on whether they’re bringing plus ones, so there aren’t too many “boyfriends/girlfriends of the week” that you didn’t plan for!
3. Prepare Food Ahead of Time
If you’ve ever hosted Thanksgiving before, the cooking process becomes more familiar (although it never really gets “easier”).
But if you’re hosting Thanksgiving for the first time, you might be totally lost on what order to prepare everything in, and how the heck you’re going to make all this stuff in one kitchen!
The first order of business is to make sure that you have all the proper cookware to make a Thanksgiving dinner, or at least to make the dishes you’re going to make. Do you have a roasting pan for the turkey? If not, do you know how to use a cast-iron skillet or broiler pan, or even a baking sheet, instead? Do you have a meat thermometer?
Now, let’s tackle the turkey itself. (Although, you should know that that’s not a good strategy if you’re hunting a wild turkey.) A good rule of thumb is, a frozen turkey needs one day to thaw for every 4 lbs.
Another thing you should get started on a few days ahead of time is freezing the gravy and the cranberry sauce. There’s nothing wrong with making these things ahead of Thanksgiving, giving you one less thing to do the day of! You could freeze your mashed potatoes and other sides, too, although some people swear the taste is different…
Last but not least:
Unless you’re Betty Crocker, you can rest easy with frozen options whenever possible, like with dinner rolls and pies. (If someone wants a homemade pie, they’re welcome to make it themselves!)
Remember that your kitchen is going to be very hot on Thanksgiving, too! So even if we here at MoreVent don’t know everything there is to know about hosting Thanksgiving, we do know one thing for sure: you can save on your electric bill hosting your Thanksgiving party, by turning the heat down a few degrees. The kitchen and the warm bodies will keep the temperature up.
One thing we can help you with is any HVAC service you need prior to hosting a party!
Wouldn’t it be terrible if your heat stopped working, or you had a plumbing or electrical problem, that you could have easily prevented with maintenance?
We come to work at MoreVent Heating Cooling Plumbing everyday with one goal: deliver more value and more trust to build lasting customer relationships in Delaware, Montgomery, Bucks, and Chester counties in PA and New Castle county in DE.