How to Host a Stress-Free Thanksgiving, Part 1

Our how to host a stress free thanksgiving series! Learn how to organize, cook and host your family’s turkey day without feeling completely frazzled!

Thanksgiving! The ultimate foodie holiday. The one that gives me all the feelings inside! Words cannot express just how much I love to cook Thanksgiving dinner and host family and friends at our house. Cheese ball, I know.

But it’s cool. At least I know it. And own it.

A pumpkin plate, Thanksgiving napkin, butter dish and place cards on a wooden surface.

The Backstory

Let’s back it up a few years though. I think it was about five years ago (or possibly even seven … I can’t remember!) when I hosted my first turkey day dinner.

And I most certainly was not all zen-like and I love Thanksgiving that day. I was a stress-bucket. And a sweaty mess with food stuck in my hair. And throwing eye glares at my husband (then boyfriend) to please get everyone out of the kitchen so I can concentrate!!!

It was, um, interesting.

I’ve learned a lot since then, with hosting both Thanksgiving and other parties.

And am no longer a hot mess and am actually quite calm and relaxed when cooking such a large meal (can you hear that laughing through your computer screen? That would be my husband thinking it’s hysterical that I just called myself a calm person).

But seriously. When it comes to hosting, I am calm. Maaaaaybe just not in all other aspects of life!

So today we start our little chat about how to host a stress-free thanksgiving.

Let me clarify – that would be how to manage cooking, setting up and hosting for turkey day. I can’t control any family drama. I kid, I kid!!

A notepad, laptop and cup of tea on a wooden surface.

How To Host A Stress Free Thanksgiving Series

So consider today’s post a sort of introduction to all that is coming your way over the next few weeks.

Because I am a talker (and have just so much good stuff to share with you about this topic), I’m breaking the series up into four separate posts. One each Friday over the next few weeks leading up to the big day.

Each week, I’ll walk you step-by-step through what I’m doing at that point to get ready for hosting Thanksgiving. And of course discuss some strategies, etc.

***Side-note – let me also just say that the strategies and planning methods I’ll be sharing with you are what work for me. Of course feel free to adjust to your own needs / personality or even just take away a few points!***

A cookbook, post-it notes and cup of tea on a wooden surface.

The Overarching Theme? Plan! Plan! Plan!

Are you at all surprised that this organizational freak is telling you that the key to being stress-free is to plan in advance? I didn’t think so.

But let me say this – the more organized you are and the more you think ahead, the less stressed you will be. Fact!

We’ll get into the nitty gritty on how to do just that starting next Friday.

Your Homework (i.e. four weeks out from turkey day)

Oh yes, there is homework. It’s time to start planning! And yes, I know it’s still about four weeks until the big day. But you want to do this stress-free, yes?

I want you to start thinking now about your Thanksgiving menu.

Don’t worry! Nothing needs to be finalized – just have fun looking at recipes, deciding what sounds good, what types of dishes you want to serve. That sort of thing. Too many recipes is completely fine at this point. We’ll narrow it down next week.

I’ll be doing the same thing right along with you. I like to keep my ideas in an email draft, but do whatever works for you.

I also want you to start thinking about who will be at your Thanksgiving dinner.

Again, doesn’t need to be finalized, but this will help as you are thinking about the menu.

And along those lines? Start thinking now about any dietary restrictions that you may need to work with. Or just really picky eaters. I have those on my hands!

Thanksgiving napkins and place cards on a wooden surface.

Totally do-able, yes? We’ll pick up next Friday and really get into it all!

Questions / requests? Let me know! Or just hit me up if you want to talk Thanksgiving. I realllyyyy love to talk all things Thanksgiving.

PS – Looking for the rest of the series? You can find all the posts here: