How to Host a Thanksgiving Dinner: 13 Steps (with Pictures)

Опубликовал Admin
24-11-2022, 04:10
Thanksgiving inspires thoughts of large gatherings of people you love, warm candlelight and, of course, absurdly delicious food. This Thanksgiving, don't let the fact that you are hosting stress you out and ruin the excitement of this time of year. wikiHow is here to guide you through the art of hosting a Thanksgiving dinner.

Planning Your Party

  1. Find out who is planning on coming. This means inviting your guests at least a month in advance. Call and find out who will be attending and if they plan on bringing any guests. Make sure to find out if your family or friends are bringing their kids. Knowing how many people are coming is really important. It would be horrible if the big day came and you only had enough food to feed half your guests. Family gatherings are generally a little tense--a shortage of food might invoke all out warfare.
    • If you want to get a little fancy, send invitations out to your guests. You can buy invitations at the store, or you can make your own. Your guests will be impressed that you took the time to do so (and will get even more excited about your dinner.)
  2. Create a menu. While we all know Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for everything we have, we also all know that the great food may occasionally overshadow the original intention. After all, who doesn't love friends and family gathered around some really fantastically mouth-watering creations? While most families put their own flourishes on traditional dishes, or even add non-traditional dishes, here is a list of some recipes to get you started:
    • Learn how to properly roast a turkey. For weeks now, you’ve probably been bombarded with images of golden birds sitting on beautiful tables. Well now you too can create your own golden bird.
    • What would a turkey be without stuffing? Check out this link to make some delicious bread stuffing.
    • Another T-Day staple is mashed potatoes. And while you’re at it, why not check out how to make some awesome gravy?
    • Add a splash of red to your plate with cranberry sauce. Who knows, maybe you’ll even get a little crazy and take a bite of cranberry, turkey, stuffing, and potato all at the same time! (Hint: It’s delicious.)
    • And lets not forget dessert. Go for the gold medal and make a selection of pumpkin pie, apple pie, and pecan pie.
  3. Consider doing a potluck-style Thanksgiving. Just because you are playing host this year doesn't mean you have to slave away over a turkey, 12 side dishes and five pies. Plan out what you think you can handle (say, the turkey, three side dishes, and a pie) and then ask your guests to bring other items (particularly, sides, desserts, and, of course, bottles of wine.) Ask each family member/friend to pick the dish they will be bringing and tell you at least a week before Thanksgiving (so you can make the extra items people won’t be bringing.)
    • If you are planning on doing a potluck-style Thanksgiving, you may consider creating a spreadsheet (or at the very least a list) for yourself so that you can keep organized about who is bringing what.
  4. Do your shopping. This step is not limited to the ingredients for your dishes--it also means getting a new, fall-themed tablecloth, picking up an extra set of cutlery, or just buying decorations you think might be nice around the house.
    • Tips for food shopping: Go through every recipe you are going to use and write down the items you don’t already have (or at least think you don’t.) Then, go through your cupboards and make sure you actually don't have that packet or allspice or that one yellow onion. You may be surprised by what you find when you dig deep. You should also keep in mind that getting perishable goods like apples (for that awesome pie you're going to make) are best bought the day before Thanksgiving.
    • Tips for supply shopping: Make a list of everyone who will be in attendance. Go through all of your china and cutlery and make sure everyone will have: a dinner plate, a dessert plate, a bowl, a fork, a knife, a spoon, and a glass. You may also want to check up on the number of your wine or champagne glasses. If you find you're short on some items, go pick up what you’re missing from your local home furnishing store.
  5. Decorate your house and table. While you don’t have to do this a month in advance, you also shouldn't wait until the day before the dinner (because there are more important baking pies…to be done the day before Thanksgiving.) While you don’t need to get too crazy with the decorations, should cute touches here and there won’t hurt. Here are some ideas:
    • Decorate your front door. Buy some decorative squash and place them outside your door or arranged in a basket nearby. (This is also a good way to use that pumpkin you never got around to carving.) Hang dried corn on your door (they come in amazing crimsons, maroons, oranges, and golds.)
    • Decorate the dinner table. While the food you will masterfully create may be decoration enough, you can also give your table some extra flair. Buy a cute fall-colored tablecloth. Put some candlestick holders on the table, complete with beautiful orange candlesticks.
    • Put little touches of fall around your house. Consider placing a bowl of fall-colored M&M’s on the coffee table, or fall-colored candles in strategic places around the house.

The Day Before Thanksgiving

  1. Start cooking the day before Thanksgiving. This is particularly important if you are planning on baking pie(s). This is also a good time to make sure you have all the supplies and ingredients you will need--turkeys and pumpkin pie filling will be hard to find once the holiday arrives!
    • If you decide to cook everything the day of, make a plan as to what will go in the oven when. Most of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes get baked in the oven, so you will need to plan a coordinated attack. Find out which recipes take longer to cook and put them in first.
  2. Set your table. While your guests won't be arriving until the next day, it is still extremely helpful to set your table the day before. Make your dining table as long as possible (time to break out that additional piece) or bring in an extra table if you simply can’t fit everyone at one table. Bring in all the chairs and place all the plates, napkins, cutlery, etc. on the table, spacing each setting out so that the guests won’t be bumping elbows every time they go to lift a delicious bite to their lips.
    • If you happen to know which of your guests are right handed vs. left handed, keep that in mind when setting the table. Placing a rightie next to a leftie will result in two guests smacking their elbows together all dinner long.
  3. Buy some flowers. While this is not necessary, having flowers in the house is always a nice touch. It’s important to buy them the day before your dinner because if you buy them before then, they might wilt. Pick out bouquets that are fall-themed for an extra lovely touch.
  4. Clean your house. No one likes to be invited to a messy house, so tidy up the day before and make sure everything you won't need for the dinner is stored away. If you are short on time and need help with cleaning, get a family member or hire a cleaning service to assist.

Thanksgiving Day

  1. Put the turkey in the oven. Turkeys generally take three to four hours to cook so plan accordingly. While your turkey is cooking, finish making the rest of your side dishes and desserts. If your guests are arriving at 4 pm, put the turkey in around 12:30 or 1 pm. That way, when your guests arrive the house will be filled with the delicious smells of roasting turkey and your turkey will be essentially done.
    • When your turkey is done, you will have to carve it. Learn how to do that here.
  2. Finish up any last minutes projects. This means putting out any last minute place settings, making sure there is enough beer and wine to go around, etc. One important thing to check is that you have enough serving dishes (if you don’t plan on serving your items directly out of the dish they were cooked in.) Ceramic pots with lids are a great way to store things like mashed potatoes and stuffing, while keeping them hot at the same time.
  3. Set out appetizers and drinks. If possible, get a friend or family member to arrive early with appetizers (think light fare like cheese and crackers, olives, some nuts, etc.) Feeding your guests appetizers and providing them with drinks will promote mingling in the living room and will allow you an extra hour or so to finish up your last dishes.
  4. Bring the dishes out for everyone to admire. Ask everyone to take a seat or set it up so that all of the dishes are in a line and each person can serve him or herself. Enjoy the meal!

Printable Place Setting Template


  • Be as organized as possible. Know how long each dish should take to cook, which ones should be put in first (like the turkey) and which ones can be cooked right at the very end.
  • if you want to make a side dish the day before, you should then heat it up in your microwave
  • Be sure to check to see if anyone at your party has allergies to any of the food.
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