everything you need to host your first thanksgiving

Guide To Hosting Your First Thanksgiving

16 November

If you may recall, I was in the hospital on Thanksgiving last year (with our turkey baby!).  The following day we arrived home to an amazing Thanksgiving feast, lovingly prepared by my mom who had brought and somehow found time to make all the food in between her spending time with me at the hospital.  It was the ultimate meal to come home to.  And as you can imagine, I had just made room for the feast–ha!  So it really was the ultimate feasting.  Not sure if I’ll ever have a Thanksgiving meal that tasted that good again.  Anyway, this year, I’m hosting everyone again although this time I’ll be more hands on–rather than just providing the table and showing up with a baby.  I am super excited as it’s hands down my favorite holiday.  No pressure (with gifts).  Good food.  All of my favorite people.  And this year add in Rex’s birthday party–I couldn’t be counting down the days more.  My mom is still planning to help with most of the main dishes and I’ve delegated the pies to my mother-in-law. but I’m looking forward to making a salad and a couple of yummy side veggie dishes.  Which are always my personal favorites.

As I started to compile my shopping and to-do list this week and have begun prepping for a house full of guests, I found a few posts around the web on hosting your first Thanksgiving to be super helpful.  I like how this one was broken down by the week and days before.  And this guide is a good reminder to make sure you’ve got your wine list figured out.  Always key in our family!

And my Thanksgiving prep list is looking something like this:

1. Come up with your table decor concept (first thing on my list duh!). Keeping things super simple always gets my vote–two ways to set the table here and here

2. Flowers–I love making my own arrangements however I ordered a centerpiece from Thistle & Honey this year so that’s one thing I don’t have to worry about (especially since I’ll have company)

3. Plan the dishes you want to serve and write out your grocery list–once you have this organized you can then decide who will bring and make what

4. Order any speciality foods or pies if you’re planning to have things catered (or delegate amongst family members)

5. Pick-up the house and get your guest room ready–make sure you have extra toiletries, clean sheets / towels etc. all stocked up (a trip to both Costco and Target are in my near future)

6. Besides Thanksgiving dinner I’ll have company here for a couple of days which means I have to think about the additional meals.  Here’s where my mom’s help comes in again as I tend to forget things like this (i.e.: plenty of lunch and breakfast options for throughout the weekend!).  Planning to have an easy yogurt and oatmeal bar for breakfasts and ask my cousins and sister to bring bread and things for sandwiches.

7. Stock up on beverages–alcoholic and fun non-alcoholic options too.  I’ll be asking Dad to bring the best from his wine stash!

Additional things to consider:

8. Downloading or creating a playlist?  We always have music playing around our house so this is a must.

9. Dress code? Whether you’re planning a formal dinner or casual I think it’s nice to let guests know.

10. Games and activities for the kids if you’ll have a house full of little ones.

Photography | Susan Yee

  • Emma Jones

    Great tips! I love this! There is always so much to think about when hosting Holiday day meals. I just remembered that my sister-in-law is desperately allergic to our dog, so I need to get the carpets and upholstery cleaned in any room where she will be and keep the dog out of that area while she’s here. I almost spaced that, which would have meant an awful time for her. I also forgot about meals after Thanksgiving! We’ll probably have leftovers for lunch and dinner, but I should stock up on breakfast foods (a yogurt and oatmeal bar is a great idea!)! Thanks for the reminder!

    • @disqus_7YPXE13CyM:disqus so glad you found this post helpful! Ah, yes dogs and allergies are such a bummer / definitely one to remember… we have family members allergic too.

  • Meghan

    Thanks for this post! On a side note, your bracelets are so lovely! Where are they from?

    Thanks!

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