Your Stress-free Guide to Hosting Thanksgiving
Some people are naturals at hosting, whatever the occasion. They have their timings down to perfection, greet you at the door with a glass of bubbly, the food is always delicious and they never get flustered.
If this is definitely not you and you have been tasked to host this year’s Thanksgiving, worry not. All you need is to follow our simple step-by-step guide and on the day you can enjoy the company of good friends and good food.
Here’s how to plan for a stress-free Thanksgiving:
Three Weeks before
- Work out your budget and decide how much you want to spend on the day.
- Allocate funds to the food, the drinks, and the decorations. See where you can make savings by looking in your store cupboard to find out what you already have in stock.
- Decide who you want to invite and send out the invitations.
- Once you know how many are coming, ensure you have enough crockery, cutlery, furniture and so on to accommodate your guests.
- Work out how you are going to decorate your table and decide on any other decorations.
Two Weeks before
- Make the final touches to the menu, buying the items that will not perish and storing them in the cupboard, ready for use.
- Decide what sort of turkey you are buying, fresh or frozen and either order one or buy the frozen one.
- When you are cooking during one of the days in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, make double the portion size and freeze it, so that you have a meal for the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. This will save you time in the evening before the big day.
One Week Before
- If you have a large, frozen turkey you will need to start thawing days before Thanksgiving. Remember to allow one day of thawing time for every 4 pounds of turkey.
- Keep the turkey in the fridge at all times, placing it at the bottom of the fridge and in a tray to catch the thawing juices.
- Do not allow these juices to fall onto anything else in the fridge as they will contaminate it.
Five Days Before
- Set up your drinks area. Place out all your beverages in a designated area, including soft drinks and mixers.
- Make sure the area is out of the way of the main flow of traffic and won’t need to be moved during the holiday
- Remember to place everything you are going to need for drinks, such as ice buckets, glasses, napkins, bottle openers and a bin for cans and bottles.
Three Days Before
- Buy all the perishable items you need and store them in the fridge.
- If you have a separate dining area you can get prepared and set up the eating area with your table plan and decorations.
- If you tend to eat on your laps during the week and don’t use the dining table, it is a good idea to set up early anyway.
Two Days Before
- Don’t leave cooking and preparing until the last minute or the last day. There are loads of things you can cook in advance that will keep perfectly well.
- Make up any salad dressings, desserts, dips, soups, pumpkin pies, cheesecakes and store in the fridge.
- Give the house a final clean through.
- Make up spare beds if you have people staying over.
One Day Before
- If you are having a lot of side accompaniments such as mini casseroles or sweet potatoes make those up and cook them then store in the fridge.
- Chop and cut up vegetables and store in bags, ready for cooking the next day.
- Prepare salad vegetables but do not mix them until the following day.
- Pop to the stores for the fresh items you need, like bread and fresh fruit.
- Set the table with cutlery and crockery if you haven’t already done so and lay our napkins.
- Put drinks in the fridge to chill.
On The Day
- Put the turkey in, allowing around 12-15 minutes per pound at 325 degrees F. Time the turkey to finish cooking at least an hour before you want to eat, as you want it to rest so that all the juices go back into the meat. It will stay hot for an hour so don’t worry about it cooling. Just wrap it in tinfoil and a tea-towel.
- When the turkey is about done, start mixing your salads, putting on any vegetables that need cooking, and putting condiments onto the table.
- Make the gravy, using the juices form the turkey and leave to stand.
- Put out chilled drinks on the drinking area and take the turkey to the table.
- Enjoy your Thanksgiving!