Up until now, preparing for Thanksgiving probably wasn’t something that required much effort or thought. You looked forward to attending on behalf of a friend or family member and your biggest concern was making sure you were dressed well for the occasion and hungry enough for what you knew would be a spectacular feast complete with multiple mouthwatering, Instagram-worthy courses and loved ones by your side.
This year, it’s different and the ball is in your court. The first important thing to remember is that you’re not alone. Doing something new for the first time and stepping out of your comfort zone is always going to feel like a challenge at first. However, with the right outlook, a bit of preparation and a trustworthy support system, taking the leap and hosting your first Thanksgiving Dinner can be an extraordinarily rewarding opportunity. Not just for you, but for all of your guests as well!
Not sure how to get started? Here are some helpful tips!
It’s always okay to ask for help: Just because you’re playing host doesn’t mean that anyone expects you to do everything by yourself. Chances are, some of your friends and family have been in your shoes and they are probably more than willing to lend a helping hand or a bit of advice on how to have a successful first Thanksgiving. Maybe you need someone to help you meal plan, pick out the decorations or help you in the kitchen day-of. Whatever you think you need help with, don’t hesitate to ask! Your loved ones will be happy to lend a helping hand and you’ll be happy to have the extra support!
Preparation is key: Like any large event or function, procrastination is something you want to avoid. The more time you give yourself to plan, the less stressed you’ll be overall and the more likely your Thanksgiving dinner will be successful. Take an afternoon to get cozy by the fire or with some candles and plan out the big decisions several weeks in advance. Figure out what dishes you plan on preparing, how many people you need to serve and if you’re feeling super motivated, start to make your grocery lists ahead of time. Not sure how to cook a turkey or how to prepare stuffing properly? Preparing in advance will give you lots of extra time to do your research, find the easiest recipes and even watch a few helpful Youtube videos!
Have realistic expectations: Let’s be honest, hosting any large event is a challenge. But when you’re expected to prepare 5-10 courses of food for a large group of people, the responsibility can feel overwhelming. Especially if you’re not someone who cooks frequently, you might feel like you’re destined to fail. The good news is that there is no one size fits all approach to a Thanksgiving dinner. Worried about all of the cooking? Maybe this year you make it a potluck! Alternatively, maybe you prepare all of the side dishes but ask the Turkey master in your family or group of friends to prepare the Turkey. One less thing you have to worry about and you can be sure the main course will turn out wonderfully!
Having fun is most important: At the end of the day, nothing is more important than staying positive throughout the whole process. Taking a risk and doing something that’s new is bound to come with its own unique set of challenges and hardships. That’s to be expected! By keeping a positive attitude and reminding yourself to have fun along the way, you will feel more in control and will be less likely to feel overwhelmed.
We hope some of these tips are helpful for anyone hosting Thanksgiving dinner for the first time or taking any sort of leap that puts you outside of your comfort zone. If all else fails, remember this one important lesson: Often, it’s the things that go wrong that make the best memories later on!