6 Tips to Host Your First Thanksgiving


by IMM Magazine - November 20, 2020

Are you a bundle of nerves due to you hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year? Well, join the club and wipe that sweat off your brow. Hosting and cooking this great American meal is a big milestone for a cook, but it also can be a HUGE moment of some nail-biting anxiety and nerves. Well, our readers have quite a lot of advice for you.

We did a poll and asked our readers for their best advice on hosting Thanksgiving dinner, and here are 6 essentials, distilled from the most frequent points we heard, that will suit you the best in preparation. If Thanksgiving seems daunting, these 6 essentials will make it less so. They’ll show you how to get organized, stay calm, and enjoy Thanksgiving more than ever!

#1. Stick with Tradition

Thanksgiving is not the time to switch things up or try something "new." Give the people what they want and what they'll expect. That means don't serve tapioca-shrimp pudding or cajun fried rice instead of turkey and stuffing. Make it easy on yourself and stick to the basics, no matter how many Youtube videos you have to watch on basting a turkey.


#2. Create the Right Ambience

Get into the spirit of having a little decor. Create a festive place for people to mingle and eat. Fall leaves or branches, acorns, or cornucopias can be used to decorate your dining room. You can prepare at the start of November or at least in the week before the holiday.


#3. Plan Ahead

Part of the reason hosts get stressed out on Thanksgiving is because they're unprepared and they wait until the last minute. Instead, you should choose your menu about one month before the holiday. Write it out - from cocktails to appetizers to dessert. Determine what ingredients you'll need and plan in advance.

#4. Cook Ahead

Make sure to cook what you can in the days in advance. You can prep the turkey the night before, so that you just have to place it in the oven in the morning. Mashed potatoes can be made ahead of time and heated. And you can set the table and have all the serving dishes out and ready to go the night before.


#5. Call in the Reinforcements

Still feeling like you don't know what you're doing? Moms or grandmothers come in handy at this stage. Also, there might be relatives who will want to actually help you cook. If things get really bad, you can always call the Butterball Thanksgiving hotline at 1-800-BUTTERBALL (yes, this is a real hotline and we aren't just joking). The Butterball Web site also offers online chats that run periodically before Thanksgiving and turkey text messages.


#6. Remember the True Meaning of Thanksgiving

The purpose of the holiday is to show gratitude for the bounty we have in our lives. Ask everyone to share for what they are thankful. Be the first to show your gratitude. You are the host of Thanksgiving, after all!