Thanksgiving Entertaining Made Easy

Thanksgiving is approaching quickly… and for many of us that means hosting a holiday dinner for family and friends.  This should be an exciting, happy event but sometimes it can become overwhelming and stressful!  Do you know the feeling?  This Thanksgiving I’d like to help you entertain the easy way!  And in my world “easy” translates to “organized!!”

I love to host gatherings (especially Thanksgiving – it’s my favorite holiday); but the only way I can be a good hostess and still enjoy it is by being organized!  Here are my 5 favorite tips for entertaining – no matter what the occasion or amount of guests on the list.

1.  Plan Ahead:  As soon as you commit to being the hostess, think through your plans from start to finish and write down everything you need to purchase, borrow, set up, and prepare.  Then put these things on your calendar and chip away at them.  You’ll feel good knowing that each time you check an item off you’re one step closer to a successful (and relaxing) event!  This is also helpful when someone asks the famous question “What can I bring?”  You’ll know just what to tell them.  And if you haven’t yet checked out the Frazzle Free Christmas, be sure to do so! It will help with your Thanksgiving planning as well.

2.  Get it Done: Complete in advance as many preparations as possible:  start stocking up during your weekly grocery shopping, make-ahead some of the menu items and freeze them until the big day, and the night before Thanksgiving set the table and set out serving dishes and utensils (so all you have to do the next day is fill them up)!  It’s also helpful to set up a “drink station” away from the main flow of the kitchen (include glasses, mugs, pitchers & carafes of drinks, ice, sugar, and cream).  Now no one will be in the way while you’re trying to baste the turkey and whip the potatoes!

3.  Keep it Simple: Buy items pre-made from the store or bakery.  I’ve finally learned that not everything has to be homemade (your guests won’t have more fun just because you slaved over the stove hand-making every last treat).  Start the party day with an empty dishwasher so you can put dirty dishes in as you clear the table.  Leave the mess and enjoy your guests (the mess isn’t going anywhere – relax and enjoy your family and handle the clean-up later)!

4.  Make it Beautiful:  Remember that you eat with your eyes first… so if there is one day when you want to pay a little extra attention to detail, it’s Thanksgiving!  When you go the extra mile to make everything look nice it makes your guests feel special.  So spend some time dressing up your table and buffet area, get creative or keep it simple – just put some thought into it.   And make sure the food is presented in a pretty way, even the store bought items!  Use tiered pedestals to serve items at varying heights and top dishes with natural garnishes for decoration (ie. cinnamon sticks, orange peels, and bay leaves).

5.  Be a Good Guest: If you’re the guest (and not the host) then make sure to take a gift to your hostess; my favorite is inexpensive storage containers.  The hostess won’t have to send her favorite Tupperware of leftovers with guests.  Trust me, she’ll thank you for it!

Cheers to easy entertaining and a Happy Thanksgiving from Simplified by Bobbie!

(Originally written by Bobbie for www.FamiliesWithPurpose.com – stop by and check them out!)

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