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The Ultimate Guide to Hosting Thanksgiving

By Alina Fridman

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Ah, Thanksgiving. A time for family, friends, and - of course - food. For most of us, Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on all the things we're grateful for. It's also a time to indulge in some of our favorite comfort foods. But if you're the one hosting Thanksgiving this year, it can be a lot of work!

Whether you're a first-time host or a seasoned pro, we've got you covered with our ultimate guide to hosting Thanksgiving. We'll walk you through everything from planning the menu to setting the table. And we'll give you some tips on how to make the day less stressful for yourself. So sit back and relax - we've got everything covered!

On This Page:

  1. How to Plan the Perfect Thanksgiving

  2. Appetizers: Getting the Feast Started

  3. Let's Talk Turkey: The Star of the Show

  4. Side Dishes: Making Thanksgiving Complete

  5. Dessert: The Sweetest End to a Meal

  6. Decor: Setting the Scene for the Perfect Holiday Meal

How to Plan the Perfect Thanksgiving

Prepping for Thanksgiving can be overwhelming, especially if you're the one doing all the work! But if you break it down into smaller steps, it's not so bad. Here's a rundown of what you need to do to plan the perfect Thanksgiving:

  1. Start with a guest list. This will help you determine how much food you'll need to prepare.

  2. Make a menu. Decide what dishes you want to serve, and make sure to include something for everyone.

  3. Shop for groceries. Get all the ingredients you need well in advance, so you're not scrambling at the last minute.

  4. Prep the food. Start prepping your dishes a few days before Thanksgiving so you're not stuck in the kitchen all day on the big day.

  5. Set the table. Gather all the dishes, silverware, and glasses you'll need, and set them out on the table.

  6. Make sure you have everything you need. From serving utensils to extra napkins, make sure you have everything you need to make Thanksgiving run smoothly.

  7. Relax and enjoy yourself! This is the most important step of all. Thanksgiving is a time to relax and enjoy spending time with your loved ones. So don't stress about everything being perfect. Just enjoy the day!

Appetizers: Getting the Feast Started

I don't know about you, but I love greeting my guests with a few delicious appetizers to tide them over until the main meal is ready. Here are a few favorites:

Baked Brie, Cranberry & Walnuts: This is a delicious and easy appetizer that's perfect for Thanksgiving. Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees. Then, cut a wheel of brie cheese and place it in a baking dish. Top the brie with cranberry sauce, add walnuts, and bake for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with toasted bread or crackers.

Stuffed Mushrooms: Another easy and delicious appetizer. Start by removing the stems from a dozen mushrooms. Then, stuff the mushroom caps with a mixture of cream cheese, garlic, and bread crumbs. Bake in a preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender.

Caprese Crostini: These are always a hit! Start by slicing a baguette into thin rounds. Spread each round with a layer of pesto, then top with a slice of fresh mozzarella and a tomato slice. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve.

Grilled Shrimp Cocktail: This is a light and refreshing appetizer that's perfect for Thanksgiving. Start by marinating shrimp in your favorite cocktail sauce. Then, grill the shrimp until they're cooked through. Serve with the cocktail sauce on the side.

Let's Talk Turkey: The Star of the Show

The turkey is the star of the show on Thanksgiving, so it's important to choose the right one. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you're picking out your turkey:

  • Size matters. Make sure to get a turkey that's big enough to feed everyone. A good rule of thumb is 1 pound per person.

  • Fresh or frozen? Both have their benefits. Fresh turkeys are more delicious, but they need to be ordered in advance. Frozen turkeys are more convenient, but they take longer to thaw.

  • Consider your cooking method. If you're planning on roasting your turkey, make sure to get a bird that's the right size for your roasting pan.

  • Get the turkey ready ahead of time. Whether you're thawing a frozen turkey or seasoning a fresh one, make sure to do it a few days in advance. This will save you time and stress on Thanksgiving day.

Now that you know what to look for in a turkey, it's time to start cooking! There are a few different ways to cook a turkey, but the most common is roasting. Here's how to do it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Place the turkey in a roasting pan. Make sure to put the breast side up.

  3. Season the turkey with salt, pepper, and any other herbs or spices you like.

  4. Cover the turkey with foil or a lid.

  5. Roast the turkey for about 15 minutes per pound, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a thermometer to check the temperature of the turkey. I like to use this digital instant read meat thermometor.

  6. Let the turkey rest for 20-30 minutes before carving. This will help it retain its juices.

  7. Enjoy!

The Side Dishes: Making Thanksgiving Complete

Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without a few delicious side dishes. This may just be the best part of the meal! Here are a few classic side dishes to consider serving:

Mashed Potatoes: This is a must-have for any Thanksgiving feast. You can't go wrong with classic mashed potatoes. Just make sure to add plenty of butter and cream! Top with a little bit of parsley for color and extra flavor.

Cranberry Sauce: This is a Thanksgiving staple. You can either make your own cranberry sauce or buy it pre-made. I like to make my own because it's so easy and delicious. Just cook cranberries, sugar, and water in a pot until the cranberries pop and the sauce thickens. That's it!

Sweet Potato Casserole: This is a delicious, sweet, and comforting side dish. Start by peeling and slicing sweet potatoes. Then, combine them with sugar, butter, eggs, and spices. Pour the mixture into a baking dish and bake for about 45 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender. Top with marshmallows and pecans, and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Green Bean Casserole: This is another classic side dish that's perfect for Thanksgiving. Start by cooking green beans in a pot of boiling water. Then, drain them and add them to a casserole dish. Top with a creamy sauce made from cream of mushroom soup and milk, then sprinkle with fried onions. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the casserole is hot and bubbly.

Stuffing: This is a definite Thanksgiving must-have and probably one of my favorite side dishes. I like to make mine with caramelized onions and apples. It's so yummy and easy to make! Just cook the onions and apples until they're soft, then add them to the stuffing mixture. Bake according to your recipe's instructions.

Cornbread: This is a delicious and easy side dish to make. Start by mixing together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Then, add milk, eggs, and melted butter. Pour the batter into a baking dish and bake for about 20 minutes or until the cornbread is golden brown. Serve warm with butter.

Dessert: The Sweetest End to the Meal

You can't forget the sweetest part of the meal: dessert! Thanksgiving is the perfect time to indulge in all your favorite sweets. Here are a few ideas:

  • Pumpkin Pie: A classic Thanksgiving dessert.

  • Apple Pie: Another classic that's always a hit.

  • Pecan Pie: A rich and delicious pie that's perfect for the holidays.

  • Chocolate Cake: Because who doesn't love chocolate cake?

  • Pumpkin Cheesecake: A yummy alternative to pumpkin pie.

  • Salted Caramel Ice Cream: A delicious and unique flavor that's perfect for Thanksgiving.

Make sure to choose at least two or three desserts, so there's something for everyone. And don't forget the coffee!

Decor: Setting the Scene for the Perfect Holiday Meal

Thanksgiving is a time to come together and give thanks. What better way to do that than with a beautiful Thanksgiving table setting?

Use a festive tablecloth. Something in autumnal colors like orange, red, or yellow would be perfect. Looking for a little more glam? Try a gold or a sequined tablecloth for a bit of sparkle.

Create a beautiful tablescape with some fall leaves, mini pumpkins, candles, and vases filled with flowers. If you're short on time, you can always buy pre-made centerpieces.

Next, choose your place settings. I like to use white dishes for a classic look. But you could also go with a Thanksgiving-themed design or even some fun, colorful dishes. Don't forget the flatware! Silver is the usual choice, but you could also go with gold or even some fun, patterned flatware.

Last but not least, don't forget the place cards. This is a great way to personalize each setting and make your guests feel special. You can buy pre-made place cards or get creative and make your own.

Here are a few of my favorite tableware and decor items. Take a look at our Amazon shop for some more fabulous Thanksgiving table and decor ideas that are sure to make your holiday table look amazing!

Thanksgiving is a time to come together and celebrate all we are grateful for. I hope this guide will help you plan the perfect Thanksgiving celebration that your family and friends will be talking about for years to come!

Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday!

- Featuring Fabulous Lifestyle

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